Tuesday, March 13, 2018

What you need to know as a Casual Teacher

I have been a Primary School teacher for over 13 years, which means I have been going to many, many, many, different schools as a classroom teacher, an RFF (which means taking up to 4 or more different classes a day) teacher, and a librarian. I have had some amazing experiences, some hilarious ones, and some not so pleasant ones (with students and teachers). Still I love my job and I will continue to do it. I wrote this post to help you consider how to prepare for working in classrooms. I have also written some advice specifically for NSW teachers, though it could also help in other areas of Australia, though as I don't know how it works with certificates etc in other states, it could still be similar.

At the start of each new year, since I don't have a permanent class to prepare for I only really have to prepare for myself and my supplies. If you are a new teacher these are some of the things could help you prepare for the year ahead of you.


It is really important to have your own stationary supplies. Most teachers don't mind you borrowing things here and there, but some do, they really do! In your pencil case you should have:

  • Pens
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Ruler
  • Lead Pencils - I sometimes have a couple as some students borrow from you if there isn't any in the classroom. 
  • Post it Notes
  • White Board Marker(s) - this may seem strange, but I have been to schools where I can't find a working white board marker. If you have one that works, you will never be stuck.
  • Eraser
  • Stamps and stickers - some teachers are ok with you borrowing theirs, some aren't but its good to have your own. 
  • Paper Clips

I do believe it's important to have these on you. Some teachers are ok with you using their stuff, but some items may require you searching through their desk which for me, feels a bit weird, especially if someone walks in on you!

It's also good to have a whistle on hand. You never know when you will be doing sport, or sometimes the whistle can be helpful for crowd control in the classroom!!


As I have been teaching for so long, I have folders and folders of resources. If you see something that interests you that another teacher has, don't be shy, ask for a copy. I've never met a teacher that has said no! I am always more than happy to share my resources too. I've been known to take pictures of particular art work that I really like, with permission of course.

If you are new to casual teaching, you will need to have a go-to folder of things that will help you get through the day. I would recommend you join Pinterest, TeachersPayTeachers, StudyLadder (Australians), The Busy Teacher, to name but a few. Non-Australian lessons (or lesson ideas) can easily be adapted to Australian Curriculum.

I would highly suggest you find some colouring pages, and fill-in activity sheets, which are readily available on the internet. You can also get books dedicated to fill-in lessons or activities. You never know how quick a class can complete a task if you have not had them before. If you don't have work to give children, you can lose them very quickly and the class can fall into chaos. If you don't have work to give them these activities are good fall backs:

  • Read a book
  • Finish unfinished work - avoid art work  unless you know what the art work is and if it won't disrupt other students. 
  • Peer tutor other students who are still finishing - be careful with this too, it can backfire quickly
  • Write a story - then illustrate it.
  • Draw - most kids love to draw and I find this a great way to keep kids occupied. 
  • Create a find-a-word for your spelling words - you can get the kids to rule up the grid too, which takes time. I now have my own grid that can be photocopied, but if you have a rowdy class having them rule it up themselves is helpful!
  • Dictionary Meanings for spelling words 
  • Sentences for spelling words - this may already be done during literacy, but its good for Kindergarten or Year 1 to help practise their words. 
  • Sports is always a good filler for the end of the day or middle of the day depending on weather, and behaviour. It can also be used for a reward.
  • Art 
  • Games like charades, heads down thumbs up, spelling bee or buzz, silent ball etc 

Basically, what you must always know is you must have work with you every school you go to, even if they say the teacher has left you work. Never fall into the trap of not bringing work. I have been in that position a couple of times and you learn you never want to be there again. 

Many of my lesson ideas are found on the internet conducted via the SMART Board, or interactive white board, which is fun and interactive for students. However, there will be times where the internet is not behaving or the SMARTBoard isn't functioning properly. So it is always good to bring sheet work with you. Don't rely solely on the internet working. 

In a situation where you don't take work with you, or you forget your folder. Here are some tips to help you get through the day and ways to ask other teachers for suggestions, without giving away that you didn't bring anything to offer!!! 

1. Make sure you get to the school as early as possible, but not too early! If they say 8:30, try to get there by 8:15am. Time goes very quickly when teachers are explaining the program for the day or if you are trying to make sense of notes left for you. If nothing is left, you really need extra time to plan something for the day.

2. See if there is a timetable on the wall near the teacher's desk to see what is planned for the day. If there is a timetable, you can then go about asking questions, or finding books. 

3. Even if their is no timetable, ask a teacher from the same grade what they usually do on that day. Say you want to keep to the timetable as much as possible due to the changes of a different teacher. They will usually help you with text book information or lesson plans without a question of what you do or don't have with you. Keep in mind its best to ask a teacher these questions if you are early to the school. Teacher's time is very precious and they may not want to spend too much time explaining work to you. 

4. Most classes run on Literacy, Numeracy, then something like HSIE, Science and Technology, CAPA etc. 

5. If you have Early Stage 1 or Stage 1, you can start the morning with talking about the day, date, weather, alphabet, phonics, counting, colours etc. If you incorporate music and songs, your morning circle can go for about 20mins and it is entirely educational. I have shared some resources on my blog before, but I'm happy to share some morning circle songs and ideas that I use via the SMART Board using YouTube. Most students love this and its a great in helping them feel comfortable with you. 

6. If you have Kindergarten or Year 1, they will usually start the day with a sentence about the weather, or a book you read. This is a good starting point for the day. You can also use sight words in sentences or practise verbally putting them in sentences. Choosing a book that can run through as your theme for the day can help too. Other grades will more than likely have spelling and activities, and if they don't you can create some for them!   When they groan, tell them if they work hard, you will do something fun with them in the afternoon - this more often than not works. 

7. Handwriting - most classrooms have a handwriting textbook or work book. You can do the next available page. I have many teachers who know I am taking their class ask me to do handwriting. I am not sure what it is that teachers don't like about it? If they don't have a text book or workbook per say, then choose a non-fiction text (preferably related to a topic they are doing) and write a couple of sentences down and have them copy them neatly in their books. 

8. Maths should be easy to pick up on what they are or have been doing. If its Early Stage 1 or Stage 1, and the teacher has resources use them. You could give students two die and ask them to roll it 10 times and each time they need to write a number sentence for the numbers and write what the numbers total. You can also sing number songs to start or end your lesson via Youtube. For example, 5 Little Ducks, 5 speckled Frogs, 5 Cheeky Monkeys etc. There are heaps of options on YouTube. 

9. If you have an older class for maths, check their text books. You can also put up a bunch of mentals on the board to challenge them. You can play some math games for times tables, or use some internet resources to keep them interested.  For Stage 2 and 3 classes for english you can get them to right a creative story, or a recount from their weekend, or a recent excursion etc.  You could organise a debate for Stage 3 classes, which could take up a full morning session and even into the afternoon, but I wouldn't recommend it take up the whole day.

10. For the afternoon session, I find doing art helpful or going out side for sport. Most kids love getting out of the classroom for sport. If you can prepare a go-to drama activity or game your students will love you! I have found over the years that kids love to do drama, but many teachers don't incorporate it, for various reasons.

So there are some common tips, which I really hope will help you out with lessons. In terms of getting yourself ready to be employed in a NSW school and you are new to teaching or returning after a break. Here are some things to consider:

1. Make sure you can access your e-mail.
Accessing your department e-mail just makes life easier. You can call EDConnect on 1300 32 32 32 and select  option 5 for IT support and they will help you set it up or reactivate it. If you need to reactivate there is a chance you will need to provide your Working With Children form. Your WWC is essential to employment and is obtained via Service NSW and you will need to pay a fee.

2. You will also need to make sure your bank details are up to date and this is so much easier to sort out via your e-mail login, which is why I suggest you set that up first. You can access ESS via your login and set up your details and if you are have any concerns or need help with payroll queries, you can do that through your login. I can't stress enough the benefits of having your login.

3.  Make sure you have your mandatory certificates.
Not having a WWC document will stop you from employment, but if you do have this, there are other things that can stop a school for allowing you to teach. If you don't have your mandatory certificates, you can't work. Its that simple.  You have to have:

  •  WHS - valid for life
  •  Anaphylaxis E-Training - this is an online course and needs to be updated every 2 years and it will take you about 2 hours to complete. 
  •  e-Emergency Care e-Learning - online course updated every 3 years and will take you about 2 hours to complete, but you don't necessarily have to complete it in 2 hours straight. 
  • Approval to Teach in NSW Schools from the DoE - I am not sure how it works for current teachers, but I got this letter when I graduated and back then, I couldn't work unless I had it and showed it at each school I went to. So whatever you equivalent is, keep a copy with you always. This will also have your ID number on it which you will need when you organise your e-mail and set up your payroll information. 
  • You may also need to show your NESA approval or at least provide your number. I am new to this as I am a pre 2004 teacher and only being transferred to this new system this year. 
  • You will need to provide your payroll number, you can't get paid unless you provide this!

All these courses are now easily accessible via your login via the E-Safety System page or Health and Safety Shortcut, again the login is your best friend. Once upon a time, you could easily get by without a login, I did for a while. Then I started working more regularly at a school and the principal told me  I had to have the login or he wouldn't hire me again!! So I got the login and I have never looked back. Have a copy of these certificates in your folder of work and present these to each new school you go to. It looks so good for you, that you have ALL your certificates with you ready to be copied. The reality is, if you don't have ALL certificates, you can'y teach. However, that all being said, you can now easily access your certificates via the E-Safety System and should you forget them, they can be printed. But that takes time away for you preparing yourself for your day ahead.

So there is some starting points for your to consider. Getting your certificates sounds like a lot, but thankfully you don't have to do them every year. There is a cost involved with your WWC which last  5 years, and you have to pay a NESA fee every year.  But once these logistical things are sorted you are ready to teach and earn the $$.

I am more than happy to help with any questions, leave them in the comments. Any important information I have missed, please let me know in the comments. I have taught in Special Education and I have also taught in some schools where students have some major behaviour challenges. So I am more than happy to offer suggestions on behaviour management and resources. If I can't, then maybe others who are reading the comments can.

If you would really like me to do a post on resources, I can do that too. Good luck with the new year and I hope you really enjoy yourselves. Teaching can most definitely be challenging, however, if you are organised, it can really help you along the way.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Healthy Vegan Raw Snickers Bar Slice Dairy Free

This is seriously my new favourite slice. I decided not too long ago that I had to cut back on the dairy. I knew my body was not happy with it in my system. So I went straight to Pinterest to collect some recipes. I am looking forward to trying vegan cheese amongst other things. But I had to give this Raw Snickers Bar slice a go. I love a sweet something after lunch and/or dinner. This sounded like a good option. Thanks to A Sunshine Mission, I pretty much made the exact recipe but didn't have cashews so I used walnuts instead and I was very happy with the results.  I only had regular milk chocolate chips on hand. So I melted these with a bit of coconut oil and lightly smeared it across the top of the slice. Its a bit of a cheat and not dairy free, but naturally, you can use a vegan or dairy free chocolate.

Click above link for full recipe.

Finds List for September 2017, better late than never!!

I have not blogged for an awfully long time. So much has happened in my life since my last post. I had a surprise pregnancy in 2016.  A beautiful blond hair, blue eyed, baby boy blessed our lives. It was a little scary in the beginning as I went into labour a week early and he was born under a GA (general anaesthetic), as I was taking Clexane to help with a DVT. I had to have a c-section, as all my boys were born that way for various reasons. My first born, my only daughter, was born naturally. He was born with Surfactant Deficiency and spent the first 2 weeks of his life in the Stage 3 NICU fighting for his life. Thankfully he pulled through, his delicate body finally created its own surfactant and within 6 days after that he was home with us. I am not sure if its possible to love a baby too much, but our baby Adam is the sunshine in our home and brings so much joy and happiness into our lives. He was a miracle baby from conception to birth. He turned 1 just last week and he is in the "stepping" stage of his development. He has no interest at this point in his young life to take those extra steps to consider him a walker. Personally, I am super content with that. I am yet to baby proof the house for the walking stage, so I am in no rush to "encourage" him walk. His brothers and sister on the other hand want him to walk so badly. I keep reminding them, that once he starts walking, he will be in their bedrooms pulling things out of cupboards and making a mess. But they just don't get it!!

While I have been away from my blogging, I have still been building up my Pinterest boards and 'favouriting' items on my Etsy, and Instagram accounts. So I will be back to sharing more of my Finds Lists. If you have something you would like me to add to my next list, send me an e-mail makingmotherhoodfun(at)gmail(dot)com. I love to share handmade and small Australian businesses but I am open to worldwide submissions too. Be sure to check out the Finds Directory to the right on the side bar.  I plan to Vlog my Finds Lists in the near future. If you are a small business and would be interested in this, please email me for further information, this is a free advertising opportunity.

Finds List September 2017

I am a little obsessed with Bohemian Traders' Summer Season. Check out the links and you will see why.

Navy Ofeliah Blouse  - Bohemian Traders

White Dandy Gypsy Top - Bohemian Traders

White Over-sized Deep V Tee - Bohemian Traders

Peak Front Maxi Dress in Black - Whitehaven Emporium

My most favourite shoes to date on Pinterest would have to be Cydwoq. I love this brand. I have never tried them on and when you see the price you might understand why. I am worried though, that when I finally get a chance to try them on, they may not fit my foot. Imagine that! I have a board on Pinterest dedicated only to shoes, appropriately titled, Just Shoes.

Boil Sandals - Cydwoq

Vapour - S - Cydwoq


Ambient Lighting Powder - Hour Glass - Mecca 

Shimmer Shot Illuminating Wand - Mecca Max

Life's Basics Konjac Sponge - Green Clay - Nourished Life


Boho Hippie Bracelet - Bead Stone Skin 

Watermelon Tourmaline Silver necklace - Erine Elizabeth

Sunny Skies - Earrings - Erine Elizabeth


Landscape N.5 - Hand Woven Wall Tapestry - JujuJust


Wise Elk Wooden Stacking Tower - The Creative Toy Shop

Grim's Wooden Gems Coloured - The Creative Toy Shop

Grim's Spirelli - The Creative Toy Shop

Butterfly Wings Costume - Special Celebration Events

Caramel Cross Over Leather Sandals - Little Leather Shop

Fun Stuff 

Vinyl Butterfly Sticker Waterproof - Trot Blossom 

Temporary Tattoos - MissyMinzy 

Zentangle Pineapple Sticker - CreativeeMinds

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bachelor Recap Season 4 Episodes 1-7

Dear massive and extensive national, possibly worldly fan base. My sincerest apologies for not being more regular with my blogging. Basically my body decided to ovulate at an irregular moment and now I have a little human growing inside me which will be due to be cut out via c-section late September. I have had many a post written and re-written in my brain but the motivation to sit down at a computer, until now, has been barely there. This will be baby number 5 for us, and while we thought producing 4 babies was a good enough effort and contribution to the Australian population, we figured what harm could one more Wilson do? Don't think too hard on that. Pregnancies are not fun for me. Each pregnancy provides risk of a DVT to my body. I grow happy, but massive babies, and to add to it all, this time around, I have gestational diabetes and I am 7 years older than my last pregnancy. I really should muster up the energy to blog my thoughts about that! I am exhausted to say the least. Raising two teenagers, and growing a baby I don't highly recommend, but somewhere along the way, with prayer, hard work and determination it somehow all works out. Anyway, now you know why my recaps are delayed and you are probably thinking, "Did I notice or care", I will proceed with my thoughts of the Bachie season to date.

Recap in a nutshell episodes 1-7

So we all know the gentle and sweet saying about girls that they are made up of 'sugar and spice and all things nice' right? Well let me apply this to this seasons gaggle of Bachiettes. Well, I might leave the sugar to the side since sugar is not a girl's best friend and lets touch on the spice. The lion's den is made up of a number of interesting characters.The ones to remember most would be Keira, or we can call her a range of nicknames like Scary Spice, Not happy Jan, and Queen Keira, to name but a few and I really should limit myself.

She is going to  bring the most entertainment, and not in the best of ways. She is blond, mildly attractive, (not ugly, but not a glamour either) and has a sporty body. Well, her body is quite good, I will give her that. But her personality is split, to put it bluntly. However, in saying that she doesn't seem too shy in hiding just how cool banana split it is. She calls it like it is,but has no tact. None, zippo, zilch, not even to save her own life. Which is not overly endearing, but makes for the best TV. So naturally she is a reality TV producer's dream.  Her most favourite quirk would have to be licking her front teeth like ALL the FREAKIN time! Like she has peanut butter cemented there for life. As a viewer, this is annoying but don't just take my word for it, see how the peeps on Twitter deal with it!
Queen Keira's most popular quotes to date must be, "I'm not happy","I'm annoyed", "I hate group dates", again to name but a few and I have limited myself on purpose. Episode after episode I watch her and wonder, can I find something about her that makes me want her to win? The answer is absolutely not. Actually speaking of Absolutely, she kind of reminds me of....

Minus the ciggie, but if Queen Keira does not hold back on saying what she wants, whens she wants. Last night's episode totally revealed this side of her. She was immensely ticked off about the intruders entering the house and she let it out on Kiki ( I will talk about her soon). If you recall my recaps from last year, which of course you do as you are my number one fan, you will remember that I desperately hoped for an Suburgatory-style cat fight. Let me refresh your memory.

Scary Spice could just about attack any girl in the Lion's Den and I could totally see this prediction finally come to fruition {happy claps}. She has made it clear she is not on set for the ladies. Although she does claim it's for Richie, but seriously I really don't even think she is staking a claim on him either. I think the real reason why she is on this show is a "Trump-Style" campaign to be the next Bachelorette. One has to ask the question though, how many men would line up to take her on? No seriously...

Enough about Queen Keira, although she provides so much material I could write a thesis on all the different aspect her character brings to the table.

The other girls in the line up to capture Richie's hear include:

Aka Baby Spice, is young, slim, totally into Richie and has a son. She is a sweet lass, but bless her heart. She is so out of her depth in this show. She has fallen hard and fast and I predict an emotional roller coaster until her exit. She comes across quite needy and I am not sure that Richie can deal with that.  She scored the white rose, which means she can take Richie away each cocktail party for secluded alone time. She stresses each evening on whether to use and if she uses it how it will seem to the other ladies. Bless her heart, she cares too much in a show that require so little caring, from anyone.


Megan was my favourite to win but she volunteered to leave in last nights episode. I pinned Nikki( Too Honest Spice) as the other Bachiette in the final two. Now, I think she might take him home, so to speak. She is a very attractive woman, when she is less dolled up (just saying coz I can). She is model of maturity in Lion's Den and comes across as a very down to earth, genuine girl. The kind that might get a gig on a breakfast radio show post show.

Aka Posh Spice (though we could say Posh Bogan Spice) has done some modelling, and if you haven't picked up on that by now, then you aren't watching the same show. For some reason its totes important we know this information because it totally defines who she is and why she is on the show I guess. From the first couple of episodes I didn't think she was in it for Richie, but last weeks episode changed my mind a little.
Kiki is not afraid to talk, not quite Queen Keira style, which is why they clash. Queen Keira thinks Kiki ( I have named her Stationery for what I feel are obvious reasons) is a bogan and a peasant. To be honest with you though, I got the impression that Richie at some point has requested a certain percentage of his ideal women to possess a bit of boagnism because they all come across like bogans. Don't get me wrong, that is not a completely bad thing. Essentially, if you are raised in Australia you can't dodge the bogan bullet and its not sexist. It's in us all and we can't hide it, well you can if you think about it too much, but if you have an alcoholic bevvy in your hand your bogan will come out, it just will!!

I am only really mentioning Rachel because I didn't actually remember her until last nights episode. She scored a single date but the thing that ruined it all for me, was the Channel 10 promo. They show her backflipping off a pirate ship into water. It was impressive on the promo and made me think there is more to her than just being a bogan! But watching it again during the episode, it just was so deflated. She was a bogan who can backflip instead of a cool chick who can backflip. Its the same feeling you get when you peek at your christmas present before its Christmas. It was a cool surprise, then it became the present you didn't ask for but you have to look surprised. It just ruined it for me. Though she did get a rose. I have to ask though, when will Richie have a single date and not give a rose? Maybe that will be when he has a single with Queen Keira! Can you imagine her reaction if he didn't give her a rose?
Keira doesn't even have to be Wicker, she will cast a spell on Richie and everyone in the house, even Oshie wouldn't be spared!!


Aka Bacon Spice, is not going to win this gig by any stretch of the imagination but I had to mention her because she has a cool nickname! She loves bacon and she would be considered to be the 'curvy' girl in the house which totally makes me happy to see. The Bachelor definitely lacks diversity in shape, size, and ethnicity. I am definitely not the only one who sees it. Noni seems nice and she is a swimwear designer (sounds familiar to a lass in last season) so I guess we need to watch out for the launch of her new swimwear line coming our way this Summer ! (charity plug over)

So there are some other girls from the original group still holding on with white knuckles. But last nights episode brought three new ladies to the table, which came as a shock to the original Bachiettes. But I do have to ask, yet again, if they saw last season, did they not remember there were "intruders" in that season? It's all part of the show. I so can't wait for a Bachiette to be so into the show she plays it like survivor because she knows how it works. Nothing will be a surprise and she will explain to the other girls that Bachie really doesn't come up with the ideas for the dates himself, he just has to say he does. Say wha?

Before I go, let me chat about Richie for a moment. Now he was not a favourite of mine in the Bachelorette. I found him too agreeable and everything seemed to be "cool bananas" which we all know in life it's not. I found him boring, but still a handsome sort with a good sick pack, sorry six pack and an "as you wish" Wesley look-a-like from The Princess Bride, which scored him bonus cookie points.

 I am still yet to understand though, what a rope specialist does and how that can earn one a good income, but I am open to learning. I might suggest my son consider doing it at Uni. All that aside, this season means we have to watch him week after, week, after boring week. The man's personality is limited to say the least. He is a nice guy, but oh so limited and I feel the girl that accepts his final rose will need to be willing to balance him out or equal him.

So far the shows are best watched with Twitter in hand, it's true, it makes the show more impressive. I also worry for the entertainment value of the show when Keira either doesn't get a rose, or she walks off because she is "Not Happy" with how the girls are behaving or if Richie doesn't do something he should have like kissed her already. Me thinks though that maybe Richie feels a little uneasy (or we could use the word intimidated, either works) around Keira. I can't quite pin point why he would feel this way but maybe its a bit like Keira is like...
Maybe she creeps him out? Whatever the delay in his affection towards her, I worry she might explode quite literally if he doesn't make a move soon!! (notice how the lady in this gif has blond hair too)

The Bachiettes need to consider a lock down plan or a safe zone should this occur. They might need to get Oshie involved because Oshie is the good samaritan in all this. He has the math skillz, them word skillz, commercial promotion skillz, the lean down to my shoulder Richie if you need it skillz. I am not sure if he can dance but I am thinking he must be able to shake it with some boogie skillz, and don't forget the vegan skillz coz he loves the earth. He got all dem skillz. Osher is the package!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Raising a Daughter has its Challenges!

Raising a daughter was nothing like I thought it would be. When we found out our first born was a girl I was over the moon excited. A girl was just the best news. She was a gorgeous baby with big blue eyes and red angelic lips. Everyone wanted to hold her and cuddle her. I recall the first outing hubby and I took without her though. She was about 5 months old and we were invited to an engagement party. Free food and entertainment, we scored!! Claire was left with my mum and she screamed non stop! My mum called me an hour  after we left and reluctantly asked me to come back. That was really the beginning of our hardships mixed with joys.

As I said, Claire was a such a gorgeous baby and we would get so many complements on her big blue eyes and how well she developed from a baby into a toddler. She crawled for about a week then realised it wasn't so fun and so decided to walk. She was walking just at the end of nine months. Which was amazing and fun for about a week. Having a baby who is walking around at 10 months isn't what its cracked up to be and when you aren't prepared it's even harder!!

I remember at about 12-15 months I was recording Claire's words in my journal ( I don't think blogs existed back then, or at least I had never heard of them). I was filling up the pages fast. At her 18 month update appointment, the nurse asked me what kind of words Claire was saying. I listed some and she looked at me like I was joking. I bet she was thinking, " Oh no, one of these parents who think their kid is saying these things when they aren't". I wasn't bragging, Claire was my first and I thought it was "normal". But now the nurse was giving me that look, so I asked if that was normal or was she behind? The nurse looked at Claire and said, " How are you Claire?" Now I can't remember exactly what Claire said, I do have it written down in my journal, which is somewhere. But the look of shock and surprise on the nurse's face was priceless when she answered her. I wasn't lying, she really could talk your socks off and express herself very well, even at that age. I felt like saying, "Told you"! But again, I wasn't bragging it just was what it was.

Now, I could say all this is amazing stuff continued on, however, as Claire grew up life got more challenging for me. Leaving her at preschool was an event! It was so heart breaking because she would run to the gate and scream like she was being chased by a murderer! It took about 6 weeks for her to chill out when I left and a couple months before she just walked in and didn't run back out again. I would often call when I got home (about 30mins later) and the teacher would say she was fine and one wouldn't know it was the same girl who had put the performance on earlier.  That was how it seemed to work for Claire, put the performance on for mum and see what it took to make her crack. She was a smart little girl. She was keen to argue and question our rules, a lot! Like a real lot! Putting her in time out was a horrendous experience. Disciplining her was a challenge and I had to get really creative. I would always tell myself it will get better when she gets older, but it just got harder, and harder, and heart breaking. She did very well in her school work and she excelled in creative writing, but home life was not all hearts and roses. I went through periods where I didn't like being in the same room as her because of the challenges she put me through. As I had more children, she would go through moments of joy and helpfulness to the complete opposite.

My mum encouraged us to take her to a child psychologist when she was about 10. I was in denial a bit because I justified her behaviour as a creative mind, when really she was manipulating and over powering. How did things get to here? Counselling worked for a little while, but then things fell back into challenge zone again.

Things came to an over powering peak when she was 12. She hated the first high school she attended. She refused to get out of bed, and she hated me. I was to blame for everything and if anything went wrong in her life, I was blamed even if I wasn't in the room or near her when it happened. It was emotionally and physically exhausting. She was no longer a child and I couldn't physically pick her up and move her to her room, or hold onto the door. She was becoming physically stronger than me and the psychological manipulation was harsh and hard to keep up with her. I was told by a counsellor, you have to be several steps ahead, which I could potentially do if I didn't have 3 other children to tend to. Motherhood at that time was hard. Really hard. We decided to changed her schools, hoping this would help her enjoy school. She was actively involved in choosing the new school and her cousin attended and they were in the same year, so we thought this would work out well.  But at this new school she met a friend who was toxic. Well, I should say this toxic friend sort her out. Claire was well accepted at this new school and climbed the social ladder rather quickly. This girl was keen to hang with Claire on top of this social hierarchy. This girl was a nice natured girl to anyones face, but had a taste for adventures with no boundaries nor respect for adults, even her mother. Though we did what I figured most parents did. Have all the sleep overs at our house. Have the girl and the other friends at our house so I could monitor things as much as possible. But I can't monitor them at school, or places they would lie to me about going. Claire's behaviour got worse. So we decided to have Claire see another counsellor and things got better for a couple of months, but then Claire was a victim of cyber bullying at the hands of this "so-called" friend. This cyber bullying was not just a run of the mill situation. We  had to get police involvement along with the school and the toxic friend was suspended. All this drama  turned things south again. She still somehow thought it was a social requirement to remain friends with this girl. Even though she had done this horrible thing (amongst other things).The toxic friend also couldn't leave Claire alone, not necessarily to continue to be nasty but because of this stupid social hierarchy thing! Something had to be done, so we got her to see another psychologist (the one she saw before had moved on to a different clinic). This psychologist was amazing. She had Claire really understand accountability. It was hard on me because I wondered what was wrong with me and my relationship with my daughter, that she couldn't learn those things from me? How did things get this bad? Thankfully, Claire cut herself from this toxic friend and has learnt strategies on self worth and knowing how to determine good qualities in friends and people in general. The psychologist  also helped her see that I am out to help her not hinder. That while she has treated me badly in the past, I won't hold it against her and that Claire is first and foremost my daughter, whom I love and will love forever.

While all these challenges were taking place I had plenty of mums telling me how raising teen girls is so hard. Though most told me that life gets better around 15 or 16 onwards. For me personally, I couldn't see that potential. I always thought life with Claire would be challenging,  for the rest of my life, even if she moved away from home when she got older!!

However, the past 12 months I am happy report have been great. The past 6 months though have been the best. In fact, today was a day I never thought would happen. Claire and her friends spent the day with me. We didn't do anything amazing, I had to go to Costco so they came a long. We chatted and laughed about silly things. It was a girls day out, and it felt so nice. I'm sure this sounds cheesy, but Claire took a photo of us and captioned, "Out with the Squad". Two years ago, that just wouldn't have taken place. I would have been told off for sitting near her and her friends and mocked for trying to be in the photo! She would have demanded things instead of asking then we would embarrass ourselves by arguing because I wouldn't be treated like that. I may not have even got into Costco, I might have left because I couldn't cope with her nasty attitude. Anyway, it seems it is not like that anymore. It seems that we really are progressing forward. We do actually enjoy each other's company and share personal space. It's a really nice feeling, and I like it and I want to hold onto that forever.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Currently Crushing on Fashion Finds World Edition #3

The following crushes are not sponsored. I share what takes my eye. I hope you find something new to crush on too.

I have crushed on these shoes by Noa Levy Aran, of Israel, who owns the Etsy store, ABRAMEY. Gorgeously designed and handmade, she also sells statements necklaces. Crushing on:

THE LEATHER STORE - has to be one of my all time favourites. Handmade leather hand bags by Becki Simms of Bristol England UK. I favourited this store on Etsy years ago and still love what she makes. I will keep my crushing list to a minimum, but i could easily list her whole store!! You will see why!! Crushing on:

MIMIIMADEIT has some very comfy looking styles. The owner, Arta of Rig Latvia, created this line of clothing after having two children and realising her body had changed. Currently crushing on:

I am very much taken by the deigns at A PIECE OF PIE by Sarah Murray of the South Coast, NSW Australia.. They are very unique and she creates clothing from up cycled materials, which when you are talking tea towels could be unsuccessful, but she manages to do it well. Currently crushing on:

On another note, if you need socks for the special guy or dude in your life, then KEMBE CLOTHING  could be the answer. Apparently there is a hashtag if you want to share your #sockswag! Why not?! Currently crushing on:

Jewellery is a very competitive craft to be part of. So many people can make jewellery, but it really comes down to what can you do well that no body else or very few people can do, which is easier said than done. That being said, I do have some favourites I would like to share with you. Well, I kind of have lots, but I will start small!!!

If you have some cash to spare, you might like this ring from PEBBLE AND POLISH of NYC, USA.

Loving the colour and texture of these earrings from ARTNSOULJEWELS, Minnesota USA. 

These cute wooden stud earrings made by JUNEDESIGNCO in Devonport Tasmania, Australia. 

The whimsical filigree designs of FEDERIKAS, are unmistakably fascinating and eye catching. 

I hope you have liked what I have put together this week. I will continue to share my Finds into 2016. If you would like your work to be share, contact me. 

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