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sandaljunkie
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29th-Oct-2008 11:15 pm - my mother the drama queen
luna my eccentric friend
I think I'm going through some kind of transition phase. I'm not entirely sure what it is that I want to change or what it is that is changing. I'm feeling very thoughtful all the time. I have this need to read philosophical books and have meaningful discussions and figure out what I want from life. Perhaps it is the big scary thirties approaching. Or maybe I'm finally growing up, you know, into an adult.

For a while I felt like I had given up so many of my dreams by settling down in this quiet countryside town. I also felt like I had given up some of my independence, because my mother gave me this house and I am in this position of wanting to live in my house the way I want and at the same time trying to step on eggshells around my mother to please her as well. I'm seeing me and fiancé finding jobs somewhere close and raising our family here. This little town may be boring but it is also safe and ideal for children. But I'm also seeing us packing up and moving abroad and settling down in perhaps France or Ireland or Canada even. At some point of my life I think I would've seen the latter as the right option to choose, the brave option. Now they both seem as good, different but just as viable.

I know these are things we don't have to decide for a while. But I've been thinking about them a lot. I've been setting boundaries as well. When I look back at my life, I've noticed that I have these phases when I've just had enough of something or the other and I begin to re-set the boundaries. This is the most recent one. I'm setting boundaries with my classmates, my teachers, myself and my mother.

I love my mother and we have always been very close. She is this extremely energetic person (bordering on OCD) who has child-like enthuasiasm over her hobbies and who gets so much done that you wouldn't even believe. She's in no way a traditional mother. She hates cooking and cleaning the house and has taken plenty of shortcuts in such things all through my life. Lately she's been really over the top with her enthusiasm. When she comes here for the weekend, she has always her calender full of visits with friends or another project to do with the renovation of this house (none of these projects are ever seen through to the finished state) and on Sunday when she reverses her car from the yard to the street we all let out this big sigh of relief and sit down all bewildered and exhausted. She is like a tornado that storms through our house, moving furniture and packing away stuff to the attic we'd actually like to use and exciting Daughter so much that she has hard time falling asleep and staying asleep for the next couple of nights. I love seeing her, but I just wish she would tune it down a notch. It almost seems like her behaviour is all manic, obsessive. I mean, she hates cleaning up with vengeance, but here if there isn't enough stuff for her to do, she'll clean the house from top to bottom. She is completely unable to sit still. Even when she has a cup of coffee, she'll walk around the room or leaf through a newspaper like she was fast forwarded. It's crazy.

Me and fiancé have talked a lot about setting some boundaries with her. Like I said it is difficult for me to set boundaries with her concerning the house, because I feel like it is still her house. I did not pay money for this place, so I don't feel like it is mine. And she continues to help us money-wise with the renovation, so I do think she deserves to have her say in how it should be done. I'd like to set some boundaries concerning the cleaning and the moving of furniture and stuff around, because it annoys me greatly that I can't find things because she has put them in a box and carried them upstairs, but I decided to start with the baby. Of all the boundary-issues with my mother, the baby is one thing we are in total control of and she has no say in how we like to raise her. So on Sunday morning I took up the issue of hysterical crying in context with visits from the grandmothers or visits to the grandparents' houses. We've already discussed this with fiancé's mother and she smiled and chuckled and promised to try to be calmer especially in the evenings. I figured my mother would take it the same way... not so much.

First she made fun of my concern that the baby was waking up in the middle of the night all hysterical, crying for over half an hour without stopping, refusing all consolation and even the bottle. She said that she was not taking the blame. I told her that we had this problem only when either of the grandmothers or fiancés sister was visiting. In other words when someone was giving constant attention to Daughter all day long, reading a book, playing with her, carrying her around, picking her up from her crib when she whimpers while asleep and so on. All this attention is a wonderful thing and I stressed it when I talked with my mother. I'm absolutely thrilled that Daughter's grandmothers are so excited to be grandmothers and that they come by so often. I love it that she gets to meet her aunt so often and hopefully grow a close relationship with her unlike my own relationship with my aunts. But also I'd love it if we could have all this and peaceful nights as well. So I asked if my mother thought it'd be possible for her to try to be a little calmer towards Daughter's bedtime, so that she wouldn't be all hyper by the time she was supposed to go to bed. I was all calm and nice and tried to explain where I was coming from as rationally as I could and as carefully as I could. Apparently I wasn't sensitive enough.

My mother started crying. Yes. I couldn't believe my eyes. She started crying and told me that she was feeling really hurt. I asked why, because I had not said she had done anything wrong, but simply asked her to try to be calmer in the evenings, so that we could see if that would help with the hysterics. She told me that she had thought we were glad that she came over, to which I said that of course we were. She then proceeded to cry some more and when I asked why she was taking it like this, she stood up and started packing her things. I think my mouth was hanging open at this point. Here I thought I was telling her what we had experienced and asking her opinion as well as assistance that we could change this undesirable outcome to better and she takes it as a personal insult. I told her that I wished she wouldn't leave like this and she proceeded to go outside and do something in the garden to calm herself, but even after she came back inside she wouldn't talk to me and left right after we had returned from voting in the municipal election. I asked my fiancé who heard our discussion if I had said something which could've set her off like that, but he just shook his head just as dumbstruck as I was.

My mother usually calls at least once a week, but so far she hasn't called at all this week. She's acting like a martyr. That is her way of dealing with arguments, but I'm still really baffled what I said and when asked she didn't tell me what it was that hurt her so much. I said so many times that she must have misunderstood something if she felt hurt, because nothing was intended that way. She just shrugged and told me that then she must have. She asked why I didn't take this up in a smaller scale first and I still don't understand what she meant by it. I've tried to tell her to not be so in the face and bouncy just before the baby is going to bed. I've told her that dozens of times, but she just doesn't listen to half of the things I say and then when she actually hears me, she gives me this temper tantrum and asks me why haven't I said something earlier if it bothers me, which makes me feel all frustrated because I have tried to do exactly that. I always thought that I was the emotional one in our family, but it seems like the roles have been reversed.

At first I felt really bad like I always do when something like this happens, but the more I thought about it, the clearer it came to me that this was something I needed to tell my mother. I needed to set a boundary and that I did and she probably got upset because I did it, not because of the way I did it. And if that is the case, it wouldn't have mattered if I had chosen my words differently. I'm not going to apologize from her, because I already did and she refused to listen and because I still don't know what I should apologize. I'm just waiting for her to come to her senses and contact us. Until then we are enjoying non-hysteric nights with the baby and a very calm and tornado-free home. Not entirely bad thing.
27th-Oct-2008 09:21 pm - I didn't bring a note
luna my eccentric friend
First day back to school after holidays. My teacher complained to me that I should've brought her a note from a doctor that states that I had cold for the whole week before the holiday. I understand why she'd like to see one, but it is not to my knowledge a standard procedure in my school to ask such paper from students, so I couldn't possibly have known that she has such a policy for her class. I notified her every morning, that I still had fever and couldn't come to school. Wasn't enough.  And it's not like I could've just left my sick baby at home or brought her with me to wait most likely more than three hours at the practice. To get an appointment takes about three weeks, so my choices would've been to go there every day and ask for a note from the nurse or wait and see if the doctor on call might have time to see me the whole day. This community is dominated by elderly people and there's always a line around the block to see the doctor on call.

She obviously thought I was just skipping school (like I predicted she would). She lectured me how this kind of behaviour wouldn't be tolerated at work. I told her that she could ignore my explanation if that would make her happy, but I had the worst cold I had ever had, which lasted the whole holiday week as well and I wouldn't leave my sick baby at home with my even sicker fiancé for half the day, just to get a piece of paper for her. If she could not understand my circumstances then she could not and no matter how long she'd lecture me that I should have brought a note, that note wouldn't just miraculously appear from thin air now. I'm guessing she doesn't like me much.

I'm the one she picks on now. Before me it was this quiet slightly slow girl who is really kind and sweet. In a way it's so much better that it is me, because I can handle it (better). You could always see how it hurt this girl when the teacher was mean to her. She looks up to the teachers a lot and I always felt like the teacher knew that and was abusing that knowledge. I once asked her if she thought that the teacher was out of line sometimes and she said she hadn't noticed in that unconvincing way, which tells you she has not only noticed but felt it too. So perhaps now that I'm the main bad girl in the class, she can have some peace.

Let them teachers try to bring me down, because I'm not that easy to break. The more my teacher tries to put me to my place, the more she brings out the rebel in me. I'm going to start writing down everything mean she says and mark down the dates, then if the need arises I can bring this long list of things to the student councellor and ask what I should do with a teacher who bullies me. Or I can read it to her and ask her if she has something against me because she treats me this way. My mother suggested that everytime she says something nasty to me, I should say to her that it hurt my feelings. I feel like that might be a good weapon against her mean words, because when you reply to mean words with honest and kind answer, it kind of takes away the venom in them and makes the mean person "lose" the argument. Not that this is a game with winners or losers. I'm just tired of mean teachers and she is the unlucky one to be the person who tipped the scales for me. I'm not going to put up with it. I'm considering also walking out of the class and going home if she has a particularly bad day and just won't shut up, and return forms that say that I left because I was bullied by a teacher. But I'm not going to do anything such yet. I'll take it for now and see if she gets bored because she doesn't get the reaction she wants.

My classmate said that it's perfectly easy to get along with her if you do everything she says just the way she says to do it. Unfortunately for her it's just not in my nature to blindly obey. That's why I didn't join the army. I listen to her and take her advice gladly, because she knows what she is teaching, but when it comes to telling me to do things just for the sake of making me obey (like pushing really heavy industry-type sewing machines from one classroom to another (for no obvious reason, except that she wants me to), no thanks. I can help out, but if it seems like it is only me all the time, then I'm just going to say no. Kindly. That's my new mantra. Do not lose your temper. Be polite. It's working.

There's one thing my classmates sometimes forget when the teachers complain that we are difficult (which we really are not compared to some students doing drugs and having all sorts of big problems). They forget that it is the teachers job to deal with also the difficult students. They can't expect that every group of students is easy or the same. We are all different and our class happens to be very opinionated and vocal. And we have a very strong sense of fairness. We want everyone to be treated equally. We do not want any special rights, just that rules are the same for everyone. And that makes us difficult. I have studied youth work for nearly a worth of the whole diploma and I've been taught that the more difficult the young person is, the more important it is to connect with him/her. Our teachers are used to these quiet girls who have been raised to speak only when spoken to. Who stand up when the teacher walks into class and work quietly through the lessons. And what they got with us is this really loud bunch of girls who joke and playfully tease each other and laugh loudly. We have so much fun together. We are not difficult. The teachers just don't know how to deal with this younger generation who no longer holds teachers up on a pedestal just because they are teachers.

On a more serious note, I think one of my classmates who just turned 18 last month, told me that she is pregnant. I'm not entirely sure that she was serious, but I think she was because she then said that she doesn't want talk about it. She just broke up with her long term boyfriend and started dating this other guy and is in the middle of this great big relationship mess already. I will try to ask her gently tomorrow if there's anything I can do for her. When I was her age and finishing highschool I had this pregnancy scare that ended in a natural way in the very beginning and I have a little idea what she might be feeling. I think I grew up more during those weeks that seemed like forever than I had done ever before that. Life really throws such curveballs sometimes.

24th-Oct-2008 01:29 pm - on teachers and teaching
luna my eccentric friend
New layout. I was getting so tired to squinting to read what I had written or adjusting the laptop screen for some more contrast. Here is the contrast. No more squinting. Perhaps also this new layout could be the perfect analogy for a fresh start? The cynical me says... we'll see about that.

I've been on our scheduled autumn holiday this week. It couldn't have come on a better time. The week before this, I was sick. The whole week  I sat home sneezing and coughing and wrapped up in blankets with my cup of hot blackcurrant juice. I bet my teachers think that I was just skipping school. It's so funny in a way that after my shout-out with the most annoying teacher, they all regard me as the misbehaving bad girl. I've done a full turn from a responsible new mother into a bad attitude loud mouth. I guess they hadn't seen all sides of me yet ;)

I'm almost sick of going through these same things over and over again, but I feel like I need to vent a bit more to properly sort my thoughts before I return to school on Monday. It occured to me yesterday that I'm doing exactly as the most annoying teacher expected. I'm not doing anything much, because I'm not that motivated anymore. I swore that I'd prove her wrong and I haven't done anything of the kind. This will now change. The time of self pity is now officially declared over and I'm going to get off my ass and start doing some work. I'm still annoyed and I know it'll be hard to imagine she doesn't exist, but I'm going to scrape up the remnants of my motivation for the sake of my classmates. I'm going to do this properly because of them.

As this "me not doing much of anything" occured to me yesterday, it also occured to me that perhaps this particular teacher was having probems with motivating her students, because she herself has no motivation whatsoever. She has said on several different occations that she doesn't want to be doing this fashion show. I don't understand why she does it then. She is getting paid to do her work and it is part of her job, so perhaps that's it then, but to complain about it to the students she's supposed to be psyching on to do their best? That's just wrong. I get the same feeling of frustration as I do when an actress or an actor has landed an amazingly written role and they just do nothing with it. I want to shake these people to make them see how stupid they are. This fashion show could be the most amazing thing to organise. It could be this fun bonding experience between the classes and instead year after year it turns into this great big war. I'm wondering if it really is always the students fault that things turn nasty as the students organising it change and the teachers stay the same.

Which brings me to the choice of professions... I know I quit the social & youth work studies a couple of years ago, but recently I've been thinking if that is in fact the direction I should choose. It almost scares me how few really good and caring teachers there are out there. Everyone has stories of unkind, sadistic and plain mean teachers and only some can honestly say they've missed out on them completely. And these people have huge impact on the lives of their students. Teachers should have this great passion for their work, wanting to really make a difference and not only teach but also bond with their students and support them and encourage them to dream big even if they live in a small countryside town. It really makes me sad how many times I've heard a teacher in my school say to the students that they should be realistic. There's so much time in life to be realistic when you are an adult and are stuck in a boring rut. Everyone should dare to dream. You will never accomplish anything in life if you don't dream big. And is it the teacher's place to say what you can and can't dream about? No. Their place is to encourage, not to put down. As a different kind of learner, for me it is very important that my teacher listens to me and can accomodate my special needs. In my opinion this shouldn't be something one only gets with a diagnosis paper, but it should be what every student gets.

I know I always complain about my teachers, but I've had some amazing ones too, especially in my high school. My swedish teacher was always so happy and bouncy and positive that you just couldn't be grumpy on his lessons. My geography teacher was so rich that he didn't really have to work, but he did because he enjoyed it so much. He was very gay and flew to  Paris to shop in designer boutiques during weekends and wore his neon yellow or bright pink Donna Karan T-shirts to class. He also had amazing stories to tell from his extensive travels around the world. We never found out if all of his stories were true or the work of his imagination, but either way he had us sitting quietly entirely captivated by his stories and learning better than ever. My history teacher took us to an Indian restaurant on our Indian history course and his substitute played guitar in a Finnish rock band and was one of the best teachers I've ever had. My Finnish Literature teacher is the strictest one I've had and a bit scary too. I never dared to go on her lessons without doing the homework and I learned so much from her, especially to use my brains and stand behind my opinions. These teachers I look up to as role models and great people and something that is common with all of them is that they treated us like they treated everyone else. They didn't try to win us over or force their leadership upon us. They gave us time and were themselves and we had their respect until we did something to lose it and even after if we apologized and behaved better we got their respect back. Everything was straight forward. That is the kind of teacher I'd like to be.

13th-Oct-2008 09:51 pm - sick
wit beyond measure...
I'm awfully sick. My nose is stuffed, my throat is sore and I feel like shit. I want to slip between the covers and sleep, but Daughter has other plans. She wants to stay awake and play. This morning our little family woke up to find out that we are all suffering from a very sudden case of autumn cold. So since we are all sick, I get no pass on the housework or childcare duty.

I had in mind to write about wanting to become a teacher, which is a thought I've been playing with lately, but I can't be bothered. I'm just too tired and brains work too slowly.

In other news... I was sorted into Ravenclaw :)

8th-Oct-2008 10:24 pm - I've been doing some thinking...
empty
I stayed at home today as I planned. Before going to bed for the night, I switched off my cellphone's alarm and slept soundly 'til 10am. Daughter woke up only twice to feed a bit, but that doesn't really interfere with my sleeping anymore as I'm so used to it. There was a time when I would've had hard time falling back to sleep after being woken up in the middle of the night, but not anymore. I don't really notice how tired I am until I get a chance to sleep longer. Last weekend when we were visiting fiancé's mother and her new husband Daughter slept in their room at night. I felt like a different person after two full nights of blissful sleep. This morning I felt almost as good.

I talked at length with my mother on the phone yesterday. She is very concerned about my situation and fears that I will quit my school before getting my diploma. She fears that the same thing will happen all over again as did with my previous school. There is a big difference with that situation and this one. I didn't have any motivation to finish my previous school, because I realized that I didn't want to work in the profession I was studying. Now I do want to finish and work in my chosen field, this is just an obstacle I have to get over or around.

I do realize that I am part of the problem. The whole awkward situation is the sum of many little things that I've tried to not notice for too long. Firstly I have changed a lot as a person during my pregnancy and the first nine months as a mother. Personally I believe that there is no woman on this planet who is not going to be changed by the pregnancy, giving birth and becoming a mother. It is quite an adventure to find the mother in oneself. The mothering instincts and caring for the baby may come naturally, but identifying oneself as a mother... that is something that took me months and the process is still not finished. Perhaps it never will be. I have changed and am changing and it is making me a bit touchy.

My mother said that she turned into a female lion after I was born. She said that she was ready to protect me against anyone or anything. She developed very strong opinions against war and took part in demonstrations and rallies. She felt that she was trying to protect children everywhere by spreading the knowledge and anti-war sentiment. I guess it is impossible to me to analyze my own behaviour yet, since I'm still very much in the middle of this all. The one thing I have noticed however is that I have very short fuse when it comes to stupid and childish behaviour. I think that becoming responsible of another person's wellbeing has shifted my priorities and made me realize what is important and what is not.

At school for example I have become increasingly aware of how people treat each other. I hate it when my supposed "friends" talk shit about other students behind their back or laugh at the nerdy boys in the school café. I don't want to be associated with that. I have been bullied at school and I do not want to be one of the bully crowd. I'm not happy that I am associated as being one of them because they are in my class. I also hate it when teachers talk down to students or are bitchy towards them. We have two teachers who, it seems, think they can be rude to young people. I don't think they would talk the same way to adults. This is an issue I've always struggled to understand. They want us to be polite and well-behaved young women, but the example they set to us is quite the opposite. I just don't understand it. It also bothers me that we seem unable to get along as a group. Why is it so hard?

These are the things I think about every day at school and try to behave accordingly myself. And it makes me really sad that the second year students and the teachers don't see that. They only see the girl who yelled at a teacher. The teachers see a possible problem and have been snapping at me the whole last week, because they feel threatened and try to put me back to my place. This in turn makes me feel worse. I don't understand why they don't see that I'm trying to make a considerable effort to make things right to everyone, not just myself.

I wonder why it is me, the girl who is supposed to have problems in understanding the non-verbal communication, who feels the tense atmosphere when everyone else ignore it completely. Why do I see solutions and everyone else ignore them? Even the teachers. Do I annoy them so much because I see things they should have seen and offer solutions they should have offered? I feel like I'm doing what the teachers should be doing and seeing what they are ignoring.

It bothers me as an Asperger that the teacher I yelled at, who yelled at me first, has not apologized me although I apologized my words to her. It bothers me that she clearly has not let go of the issue, although we agreed that we would. It bothers me as an Asperger that I clearly am not capable of expressing myself as clearly as I would like to. And it bothers me greatly that my teachers know very well of my diagnosis but aren't professional enough to see that my outburst was a clear example of a situation where an Asperger girl has tried to find a way out from an uncomfortable situation and all of the good ways have been denied from her and ultimately the frustration and discomfort has led into an outburst. My mother said "You are the one who has to live with your outburst and the words you said. Everyone else has almost forgotten about it already and you keep going through it in your head and won't stop for a while. The teachers should realize that and just let it be already. She knows me so well. I do not regret that I yelled at the teacher, because I believe she deserved it, but it makes me sad that I lost control. The words would've been so much more effective if I had stayed calm when the teacher raised her voice. That is what I regret.

I'll be going over this for weeks to come. And if I'm at all right about the teacher who I shall now name as The Enemy, this isn't the last chapter of our fashion show fiasco.
7th-Oct-2008 11:18 pm - a very very bad day
luna my eccentric friend
I'm no longer sure what to do with myself. I have been crying all evening to the point that I no longer bother to wipe my tears away, because more will flow down my cheeks momentarily anyway. And why am I so upset? Because we had the meeting I so much wanted we would have at school and about half way through it changed from nice conversation to accusing my whole class of being inconsiderate backstabbing folk who think they are better than others. I was so stunned that I didn't say anything.

I feel like my good intentions to calmly talk things through were completely trod over by kiss-ass teenagers whose only intentions were to make us look bad in order to make them look good. I feel like I was walked into a trap. Perhaps it was awfully naïve of me to think that we could actually discuss about anything without it turning into something nasty. I tend to have more faith in people than most and it always catches me off guard when they do not live up to my expectations of them. My classmate asked me what good would it do to talk things over earlier today. I understand her now. She could see what was coming and I couldn't. I really thought that we could sit down and solve the problems without hurting anyone's feelings any more. I was so so wrong.

I was nice and the only one who tried to make an effort to be nice and meet the second year students half way. I genuinely want to get along with them. I don't like arguing with people or losing my temper. And I feel like they all think it is my fault that we are in this situation. I'm the only one who has tried to defend their point of view to my classmates. I'm the only one who has tried to reach out to them. And every single time I've done that all I get is cold stares or fake smiles and knife in the back the first moment available.

I'm so done. I'm tired mother of nine months old baby. I don't need this juvenile shit in my life. I wish I could just shrug everything off and act as if nothing had happened. I wish I could just not care this much. It would make my life so much easier to be able to move on shiftly. I really just want to not talk about this at all to anyone and yet it is the only thing I talk about because I can't get my brains around how we ended up here. I have a compulsive need to understand.

The first year after I got my Asperger's diagnosis all I did was trying to understand why things had happened the way they had and what I could've done differently. First I felt bad all the time because it felt like it was always me who failed in the communication front. It felt like there was hardly anything at all I could do right. Then I realized that I could not change the way I am. I could not take back my past mistakes and if the people I misunderstood or who misunderstood me couldn't understand why this had happened and accept my sincere apology, there was not much left for me to do. Since then I've built up my confidence little by little and now I feel like I'm falling backwards.

I'm taking yet another day off school to regroup. My plan for now is to let the dust settle. I'm not going to try to talk with anyone about this situation any more, because clearly we can't communicate effectively and someone always gets hurt. I will see if it is possible for me to work with the teacher I yelled at or not. The ball is in her hands as I have apologized and we have agreed to move on, but she clearly hasn't. If it is not possible, I see no other way but to pull out of the fashion show project. I can't work in an environment in which someone is looking for any excuse to bring me down a bit more still. I have to go to school in order to graduate some day, but there has to be a way to skip out this project for the sake of my mental health. So... I'm trying to put distance between me and the school. I'm trying to not care quite as much.

This will be a challenge.

On a more positive note [and boy do I need positive things right now], I applied to be sorted over at platform_934 and the comments I've got to my application are the sweetest. They have kept me from losing all hope to mankind today. I can't wait to officially become part of community as kind and sweet as hogwartsishome apparently is :)
30th-Sep-2008 11:54 pm - Trying to be an Adult
comfort
This morning I went to talk with my guidance councellor and school psychologist about the situation at my department. After the fashion show meeting where angry words were exchanged, I've spent a lot of time thinking about why this argument happened in the first place. I realized quite soon that although it was the little misunderstandings surrounding the fashion show that made us all annoyed, that was hardly the whole reason. It was more like the tip of the iceberg, the last straw for us.

I came to the conclusion that the things that are in effect behind all this have a lot to do with the atmosphere in our department. I sense the change in it clearly because I have been away for six months, but as I have talked with my class mates, nearly all have said that they sense it too. Our teachers are always busy and seem to be constantly annoyed. They get angry about the smallest things and react too strongly when simple questions are asked. Lately it seems they've been intentionally nasty towards certain students, like they had done something wrong, when in fact they are just calling for their rights. This in turn makes the students annoyed. I don't think we've talked as much bad about the teachers behind their backs as this autumn. I'm not proud of that, but I do see that it is our way of trying to deal with their increasingly bad behaviour.

This is what I went to talk to the student councellor about. I said to him that I have no idea what it is that is bothering them, but clearly something is. I said that it is affecting our whole department and that perhaps I see it more clearly because I have been away or perhaps I'm just more sensitive to stuff like this than my classmates. I told them that this stressed out behaviour was affecting my motivation to come to school each morning and the quality of work I produce. I feel that it affects the relationships between the classes and students as well.

I told them that our teacher is away too much. This week she is with our class one day. One day out of five. On every other day the responsibility falls on either one of the other two teachers or a substitute who is not really a teacher with any pedagogic know-how. I told the councellor that our teacher has been away minimum of two days a week since the school began this fall and that even when she is with us she goes to the teachers' lounge to make phone calls during our lessons and can be away from halh an hour to an hour at the time. I think that is highly unfair towards us and has definitely an effect on our studies. It also feels like every single meeting and phone call is more important than us to our teacher.

I also pointed out that I do not wish to blame the teachers for this. I think that there is something else behind this than that they had suddenly turned mean. I don't think they wish to create conflicts or be angry all the time. I certainly hope they don't. I also said that I feel that there is no room for discussion. I tried several times to create an opportunity for us to discuss the fashion show incident and my teacher thought the best solution was to hide everything under the carpet instead of discussing the misunderstandings openly. I believe that this policy has escalated that particular situation and many others.

The student councellor and the school psychologist shall now set up a group meeting for our whole department, which consists of three classes at the moment. In this meeting we will have the possibility to give feedback anonymously and then the psychologist will go through them and we will have a discussion about the issues we have raised.

I feel like I have accomplished so much today. I managed to see past my own anger and my own dislike of certain individuals and analyze the situation objectively and tell it like it is to the two people who actually can do something about it. I sincerely wish this can be solved. The situation is so infected that I can't take it much longer.
25th-Sep-2008 04:56 pm - Much Drama about nothing much
apart
It seems my life has suddenly speeded up. It's not only that my school began. There is just a lot of stuff happening, not only to me personally, but to those around me as well.

First of all I do have to mention that Daughter got her first teeth. The two barely visible pearly whites appeared one morning after two weeks of badly slept nights and cranky days (on her part... and probably mine as well).  It's so funny that she decided to do two at once. It's just her style to do that. People may think that babies don't have personalities beyond good sleeper or bad sleeper, but it is so evident that she will become a very determined and strong-willed child. We will most certainly have our hands full. Already at 8 and half months she knows how to show her opinion. She lies on her tummy on the floor and hits it with her tiny fists and kicks it with her tiny feet. Now we just burst out in laughter whenever she does it, because it's almost as if she read some baby handbook on how to get your point of view across to your stupid parents, but I'm sure I won't laugh when she does it in the super market in the candy isle.

We have also a new member in our family - a 5 months old cat called Kille. A girl from my class took a puppy and a kitten roughly at the same time. She wanted to give up the kitten, because together the dog and the cat had completely trashed her small apartment. The cat had pulled all her clothes out of her wardrobe and the dog had peed on them. Lovely. So after much discussion (or me trying to convince Boyfriend we really want this kitten) the cat arrived last Monday. He is adorable. Our previous two felines were less than happy to have someone else trodding on their turf and the other spent the first two days on the kitchen cupboards and the other under our bed while the new arrival made himself at home. Now after a week they eat side by side, sleep on the same bed and even play with each other running around the house like mad cats that they are. Kille also plays with Daughter. He goes to her and touches her with his nose and then jumps away as she tries to grab him. She screams in delight whenever she sees him. I think he'll become her cat.

Boyfriend may get into a culinary institute to study to become a chef. He went to see a career councelor and she had found this institute for adult students about an hour drive from here. He'll go to an interview next week and then we'll see. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It would be so amazing if he got in. He is a fantastic home cook and I have no doubt in my mind that he'd make a fantastic chef. I think I believe in him more than he believes in himself. Him getting into a school would mean that we have to find a  day-care for Daughter. In this town it'll take two weeks to get a placement in such sudden situations as ours is. Normally one has to apply at least two months beforehand.

Things have been hectic at school also and boy have they really been hectic. As the senior class, it is our turn to organize the annual "fashion show" where we showcase the clothes we've done. This has traditionally always been something the senior class does and the other students can participate by being the models for their own clothes. Our class has been really motivated by this since the first year and we've been really excited about he whole thing. Our surprise was great when the teacher in charge of the fashion show one fine day walked to the class and announced that we would not be organising the show this year, she would do it instead.

Things quickly spiralled into a horrible mess as our class tried to face this huge disappointment and understand what we could've possibly done to upset the teachers so much that they weren't even going to give us a chance. We realized that we had done nothing wrong and got angrier and angrier and more and more upset. I figured it might be a good idea to discuss this situation and talked to my teacher who is the supervisor of all the teachers in our department. I told her how our class felt and asked if there was a possibility we could all sit down and talk about this. She ensured me that their intention was not to kill our excitement and passion for this fashion show, but quite the opposite. But she felt this conversation was enough and told me that she would tell our concerns forward. I was happy but not convinced that things would settle.

The next thing that happened was that the teacher in charge of the fashion show told some girls from our class who were elsewhere doing their practical training that she had discussed the fashion show with us and that everything was going perfectly back at school. I was amazed how fluently she could lie to them as she had not discussed anything at all with us and nor was she planning to. In fact she hadn't even said hello to us after my discussion with my own teacher. One of my classmates got really angry and demanded to speak with the teacher in question immediately. She wasn't working that Friday and we once again ended up sitting down with my teacher to talk about this very same thing. Almost everyone from our class were there and we expressed the same feeling of being left out of the loop and feeling disappointed that this opportunity has been taken away from us. We told her that we have plenty of ideas and motivation to put hours and hours worth of work into this. She was certain that everything was just a misunderstanding. We were quite happy to accept that this was the case and together we agreed to hold a meeting about this fashion show in two weeks time.

Today was this eagerly awaited meeting. Since the school shooting on Tuesday everyone has been on edge and the mood at school has been grumpy to say the least. The teacher in charge of the fashion show has behaved this far as if nothing has happened which in my opinion has been a bit weird. As a teacher I would have approached us and wanted to make sure that everything is okay between me and the students I'm supposed to co-operate with, but instead she has literally been avoiding us and giving us dirty looks. This is not something we have imagined up, but really it has been so very clear that no one could've failed to notice. So the positive feeling we got from the chat we had with our head teacher began to diminish day by day and by the meeting we were feeling less than happy about it all.

It took about 5 minutes before the teacher completely lost it. The first thing out of her mouth was that we would be organising the show in the school's auditorium. This is not the spacious kind of auditorium or the kind with a stage. No. This is a smallish amphi-theater shaped room with room for one teacher's table and chair at the bottom. The first thing that came to my mind was that our large historical costumes would never fit on the stage let alone along the corridor leading to the stage. My friend said this before I did. I asked if this was really the only option and if their was a way we could organise it outside or in the sports hall of our school. The teacher said that the boys would be playing basketball or something at the sports hall on the Open Doors day when the fashion show would be organised. I asked why were they even playing because that has nothing to do with the profession they are studying which is what this Open Doors Day is supposed to be all about. That is when she stood up and started screaming all red-faced at me. She told me that this is exactly like last year and that people like us with such a bad attitude make it impossible to organize anything. She would not have it, she would have nothing to do with it. Then she walked out of the room slamming the door behind her. What did I say?

Now that is a mature way to deal with this situation.

It just escaped my lips before I could bite it back, but that was exactly what I thought. The second year students present at this meeting began to shout at me for saying that about their former teacher and my classmates told them to shut up when they knew nothing about anything. My teacher who was also present sat completely quiet through this all. I don't even know what all was said because the 2nd year students literally turned to face us and began to shout. Then my teacher said that those who were the most vocal with their opinions should go and talk to this other teacher who had stormed out. I stood up immediately and walked to the door. When I was there I asked if anyone else was coming and two of my classmates followed.

I knocked on the door of the teachers' lounge and after a long wait the teacher came to open it. I asked if we could talk and she simply turned her back and walked into the room. I took this as an invitation to come in and went to sit by the teachers' coffee table as did my classmates. She was standing her back towards us this whole time. I asked if we could talk, face to face, because I found it annoying that she tried to force us talk to her back. She then sat down but not at the table with us but to the other side of the room.

I told her that any attitude problems she might think we had stemmed from all the events leading to this meeting. We had already once been disappointed by this fashion show business and the first thing she says in the meeting is another big disappointment. It is only natural that we try to find alternatives to that small and cramped auditorium. I apologized the way we said things, because it was not our intention to be rude and we did not want to pick a fight. But I also pointed out that the whole situation could've been handled in a much better way to begin with and that our earlier disappointment was still weighing in our minds because it was never properly resolved directly with her (which was our wish all along). Mostly I talked and she listened and nodded and my friends said few things. She did manage to say that perhaps her words about organising the whole thing herself were "a bit too strong"  for the situation. I assume that is the best apology we will ever get. It felt like her boss, my teacher, hadn't really told her at all how upset we had been like she had insisted that she would do. She didn't want us to talk directly with this teacher and that was the reason why we hadn't. The whole thing had escalated from a couple of badly chosen words into this massive ball of hurt feelings all over the place.

We managed to get our worries out into the open and she realized that this was an important thing for us and we really wanted to do as much as we could ourselves unlike the previous year who had been slacking every chance they got. We even laughed a little in the end and agreed that this whole thing would be put to rest here and now and would never be dug up by any of us. I feel really good about this and am now looking forward to the next meeting which hopefully will be drama-free.

I am not entirely happy that I did let myself get into the heated conversation and that I didn't manage to bite back that sentence about maturity-level of our teacher, but I am quite proud that I was the one to go and resolve this situation. I remained absolutely calm and insisted that we get to the bottom of everything before moving on to anything else so that all is said and nothing remains that could turn the situation uggly again. I'm also happy that I did not beg the teacher to come back to the project, because I believe that is what she expected and that is what our other teacher meant when she sent us to talk with her. I feel like I behaved in a mature way by wanting to clear things out instead of leaving the room like the teacher did. I'm so not used to dealing with people who take the coward's way out of the situation. I always want to talk things through, which is what we did today. I will not apologise my behaviour any further than I have already done and certainly not from anyone else than the teacher and even from her only the fact that I raised my voice, because I honestly didn't mean to. I have a hunch that this is not the last that we've heard of what happened in the meeting, but I'll just stay quiet and observe and see what happens.

1st-Aug-2008 08:39 pm - The eclipse of the sun
paper parasol
Today we admired the partial eclipse of the sun. Around these quarters of the globe it was about 50%. Had we travelled to the northernmost parts of the country, it would've been closer to 80%. But even as only halfway there it was rather impressive. I get very excited about things like this. I don't really know or understand much about astronomy, but it intrigues me. Somehow and eclipse of the sun serves as a reminder that there are much bigger powers at work than our little society on this globe.

I remember the last total eclipse of the sun. My mother was driving me and my friend home from school. It was a cloudy day, so we couldn't actually see the eclipse, but we stopped the car on the roadside in the middle of this vast open scenery of grain fields and horse pastures and watched as everything became dark. I remember how eerie it was. The darkness wasn't like the night, it was unreal. The scariest thing was that the nature went completely quiet. The birds stopped singing and the horses stood still on their pastures. It was as if the whole world became still for a moment. As soon as the shadow over the sun moved and the first rays burst on the sky, the eerie silence broke and as the sun revealed itself little by little everything returned back to normal.

I was nine years old then and I think I will always remember it. I guess it is set in all living beings to fear for the day when sun goes dark. In some subconcious level we react in the same way as birds and horses. We know the darkness and silence lasts only moments, but even with this knowledge we can't help but to react as if we weren't entirely sure that the light will return. I find that really humbling and a reminder that we human beings are only a small part of the universe.
30th-Jul-2008 10:01 pm - No Sleep for Me
watch the wind blow
I am so tired.

The baby is probably teething or if not then the heat is getting on her wits, because after sleeping her nights soundly with just one or two meals for weeks now, she has suddenly began to wake up several times a night, just to scream her lungs out. She is also cranky all day long and is a total nightmare when the naptime comes. It's almost as if her cot is her biggest enemy in the world. The moment her back touches the mattress, the screaming begins.

Boyfriend is a lot of help during the days, but like most men he has been blessed with incredible ability to sleep through any amount of noise. So I'm the one who wakes up to feed the baby and tries to calm her down at night. Now after almost a week of badly slept nights, they're beginning to get to me. I find myself snapping at boyfriend for absolutely no reason and I have a really short temper with the baby as well. I feel like crying every time she begins to scream and won't stop. This reminds me all too well of her first very colicky three months. I used to not sleep for 48 hours or more and somehow we got through that. So I try to make myself believe that we'll get through this crankiness as well.

My school will begin in one and half weeks and I don't know how I'll manage with this little sleep. I read from one parenting book that being a parent is unlike any challenge you have ever faced, because as a parent even when you feel like you've come to the end of the road and have no more energy, no more tricks up your sleeve, no more ideas, no more in you to give, you can't back out of it. You will just have to dig deeper and find the last drop of energy to deal with your feverish screaming child and although I have only been a mother for the last seven months, I have already experienced that - over and over again. I could never have imagined how hard this can be. I knew it's not a walk in the park to be a mother, that it is a lot of hard work, but I guess we can never really understand the magnitude of the responsibility of a parent until we become part of that group. Perhaps it is the extreme challenge of taking care of a tiny human being and trying to teach her everything she needs to know to be able to live on her own one day, that makes it so amazing, so rewarding, the best thing that ever happened to us.

As I think back on the first months and how hard everything was and how afraid I was that I'd make a mistake, that I would bathe the baby too seldomly or too often or that I'd put the diapers on too tight, it seems so far away. I look back at myself like I was a completely different person. Perhaps I was.
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