Archive for July, 2008

How shy is too shy?

Hunter’s very comfortable and outgoing at home with us, but in other situations she’s very reserved. I know that’s her personality, and that’s totally fine, but as a complete social incompetent myself, I do want to be sure she’s socially adept enough to be happy in life.

The people who know her best probably don’t consider her shy, because when she’s in familiar surrounds, she’s completely outgoing. She’ll put on shows and sing songs and boss us all around. She’s also great with adults generally, even if they’re relatively new to her acquaintance, and she’s good with younger kids and with older kids. But with her peers, not so much.

I believe it’s about safety and fear of rejection. Adults don’t say, “I don’t want to play with you” and neither do little kids who are happy to follow her instructions. Older kids are leaders to her and she knows they thinks she’s cute, so they’re no threat either.

But with a group of children her own age, she struggles a bit.

It’s not like other kids don’t like her, or vice versa, it’s just that outside a structured setting she doesn’t really know how to interact with kids her own age. She doesn’t generally feel comfortable joining in with a group at preschool – she’d rather hang back and do her own thing until one of the other kids either joins her, or invites her into some other activity.

I’m exactly the same, and leigh’s like that to an extent, too, so we feel like we don’t really have the tools to show her how to be more confident and less worried about rejection.

She’s happy enough at preschool but I want to make sure we’re using this time to teach her the skills she’ll need when she gets to school and has less shepherding from staff. And I guess I am a bit hypersensitive, too, because I’m such a social dufus myself.

I had a chat with her preschool teacher this morning and she agreed that Hunter does like to be around the teachers, talking with them, showing them things, etc. She thinks it’s partly that Hunter is a very mature kid (she really is) and partly that she is more reserved than average.

Her preschool teacher doesn’t think it’s a particular problem, and neither do I, really, but she’s going to think about some strategies to help Hunter with those social skills so she can feel comfortable within her own circle of friends.

I don’t think she’ll ever be the life of the party, that’s just not her nature, but I really want her to feel like it’s okay to say “can I play with you?” or “do you want to help me with this puzzle?” if that’s what she really wants to say.

We’ve talked about maybe inviting over one of her preschool friends to play some time. Unfortunately the one kid she keeps suggesting is from a very strict Muslim family. I have no issue with that and I’m quite happy for Hunter to be friends with this girl, but I can’t imagine asking her mother (in her hijab) if she and her daughter would like to come over to our two-mum household for a catch up.

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Renovating procedure, step 463521

We’ve crept a tiny bit closer to getting this show on the road, with the arrival today of our certificate of home warranty insurance. The insurance is a big rip off that’s not even worth having but it’s a legal requirement and we have been unable to collect our council paperwork without it.

I’m about to call council up and get them to pull our file for collection tomorrow. I feel so nervous that there will be some condition on there that everyone forgot to tell us about.

We’ve also filled in the paperwork from the bank and will be sending that back on the weekend, assuming the builder brings over the few things we need from him. There were sections of the bank paperwork that were completely baffling to us (eg, there was a spot where we needed to fill in the date for the new mortgage, but a settlement date has not actually been set). We’ve decided to send it back anyway and let them chase us if we’ve got it wrong.

We don’t know what we’re doing and we’re not going to magically figure it out by reading the forms for the 67th time, so we’re letting the bank deal with it.

Oh, the certificate of insurance includes an estimated completion date of 20 November – too late for Hunter’s birthday party, even if they finish on time, and of course they won’t.

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I miss shopping

Leigh and I were talking the other day about how we’ve really done pretty well at not buying Stuff. Since the beginning of the year we’ve really been trying not to indulge in retail therapy, and mostly we’ve been pretty good about it. We’ve had the occasional slip up but no major blowouts, and even when we have decided to buy something new, we’ve been fairly particular and quite restrained.

The trouble it, I miss shopping. Really miss it.

I know that’s pathetic and that half the point of this exercise was to prove to ourselves that worshipping at the altar of commercialism is unfulfilling – but I haven’t really found fulfillment elsewhere, either.

Leigh was never half the shopper I was (am?). She doesn’t understand the joy of wandering around for hours, not looking for anything in particular. Trying on clothes you don’t need and can’t afford. Looking at furniture you have no room for.

Even in our shopping days, she was all for getting what she went for then coming home. She’d always choose the smaller shopping centre over the big one, and really she’d rather be gardening than shopping.

I like having a garden. I like eating food that comes from the garden. But I don’t really like gardening. I prefer The Great Indoors.

I’m choosing not to spend so much time (and money) shopping because I think it’s a better way to live, but I am still waiting for that lightbulb moment when I realise I prefer my days retail-therapy-free.

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No, the renovations have not started

Just in case you were wondering.

We are still wading through paperwork. The bank needs a whole pile of stuff we don’t have, including copies of the builder’s licence and insurance, copies of our insurance, lots of certified documents that we’ll need to get witnessed, etc, etc.

And the really fabulous surprise we got was learning that we have to pay our contribution to the reno costs not to the builder, but to the bank.

Basically, the bank wants to make all the payments to the builder, even though it’s only stumping up a little over half the cost. I have to give the bank my $40K+ for them to pass on! I am not happy about this. I give the bank practically all my savings at the time of settlement, then they sit on it until they need it for the progressive paydown.

Meanwhile, they’re earning income from my money, and charging interest on our loan! I just love the way the banks manage to charge you a hundred different ways for the same thing.

Anyhow, the builder’s applied for the home warranty insurance and we should have that by Friday, then we can pick up the plans a day or two after that, then get everything signed and THEN we should be able to return all the paperwork, probably next week at this rate.

The builder has another job to do before ours, which he says will take about four weeks. I assume this means it will take about eight weeks, but it hasn’t actually started yet, so I am guessing it might be 10-12 weeks before anything actually happens here.

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Allergy test results..

Negative! For everything!

The only bump was the histamine control, everything else – nada. We’ll see the pediatrician tomorrow, but I’m thinking this means goodbye epipen, hello Sushi Train!

It does leave us still wondering at the cause of the three outbreaks of hives she’s had in the past year, but negative is very good news.

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Is she still allergic?

It’s been about a year since Hunter’s nasty allergic reaction after eating some prawns. The skin prick test confirmed the allergy and we’ve been getting around with an epipen ever since, and we’re to re-test annually.

The first repeat test is scheduled for┬áMonday. I really don’t know what to expect. We’ve been careful about not giving her anything with prawns in it, so I am hopeful she may have outgrown the allergy. On the other hand, seafood allergies are among those most likely to be lifelong.

I feel like the test is going to be negative. I sure hope I am right!

The initial plan was to re-test for seafood allergies only, since everything else tested negative last time, but I think we’ll end up doing the full panel again. She’s had three outbreaks of hives in the past year and we haven’t been able to pinpoint a cause an any of those occasions.

The first time we felt sure it was soy, because the reaction occurred within minutes of her eating some sushi rolls with soy sauce, but the RAST test was negative. The other two reactions happened at preschool and we really have no idea what they were caused by.

The follow up with the pediatrician on Tuesday. I am really not looking forward to getting to these appointments with two kids. Hunter’s going to want to be on my lap for both appointments, I am sure, and if Hunter wants to sit on me, Hugo will almost certainly be trying to push her off.

Tuesday in particular will be a pain because we’ll have been at playgroup in the morning so Hugo will be wiped out and ready for bed. Maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll fall asleep in the stroller (as if).

Meanwhile, I lost the referral form and had to call the doc’s office this morning to ask for another. Luckily the allergist is two doors down the hall so the doctor’s receptionist said she’d just give the form directly to them.

We also have a few other things on the list for when we see the pediatrician. Hunter’s ears were still a bit pink when we went for our GP follow up, and her hearing doesn’t seem to be quite back to normal, so we’ll get him to check that out, and we also need to have him check out her head circumference again.

I’m glad to have a few things for him to check – I like to feel like I am getting my money’s worth!

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My tired boy

Hugo has been seriously resistant to daytime sleep lately. He’s very happy to sleep in my arms, but not at all happy to sleep in the cot.

He was wiped out and ready for sleep by 9.30 this morning but despite my best efforts, he just would not go down. I ended up giving in and planned to try again after lunch.

I fed him and was about to put him down again when the phone rang. As I was coming back from the phone call, I heard snoring.

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I made the call

Today I called Alice,┬áthe lady who looked after Hunter before she started preschool. She has a vacancy coming up, so she’ll be taking Hugo once a week starting in November.

Alice is great and we love her and I know it’s not even a big deal but I think I will go have a little cry now.

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Heading back to the real world

In November, I’ll be starting to work from my agency’s office one day per week. When I took the redundancy from my old job, the agency director and I agreed that over time I’d start spending one then two days in her office, but after that first conversation I just put my head down and hoped she’d forget.

But now her other account manager is about to leave and she’s pregnant with twins due around Christmas (surprise pregnancy – they’ll be babies four and five!) so she really does need me in the office at the end of the year.

And one day a week of childcare for Hugo is not that big a deal, I know, especially since he’ll be 18 months old by then.

But I just keep putting off that call to the daycare provider. Every day I say I will call her, but I never do. Maybe tomorrow.

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How could you not love that face?

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