Inigo is taking a day off school for the first time today. He has a cold and a slight temp, but a kid in his class has just finished chemo and has a depressed immune system, so we need to be careful.

And yesterday, his teacher told me that he has jumped to level 8 in reading, which is where most kids are expected to be at the end of kindy. So he has a new goal – to reach level 18 by the end if this year, and get to where the year one kids are expected to finish the year.

Since he’s started to click at school and work hard, amazing things are happening.

No pic today :(

Today I made Manoush (not sure how to spell it!), it’s Lebanese pizza with zatar, a spice blend that has oregano, sesame seeds and sumac. This is mixed with olive oil and spread on a pizza base and baked. I cheated and used pre-made pizza bases. I also made little bear face cheeses, and though I thought I took a picture this morning, it obviously didn’t work out.

Mum reminded me that I can probably get a passport in my married name without changing my first name, and if I can change my air ticket to Larissa, that is what I will do. Far too much hassle otherwise!

Squish is still doing brilliantly at school, even today for his substitute teacher while Mrs D was acting principal. I had my second P&C meeting, and have apparently already started pissing people off. Our school is so small we don’t have a full time librarian, and the library itself is very sad looking. Today we voted on how to spend the P&C money in the school, and I was told that “kids can read newspapers, they don’t need books to learn to read”.

I have a long way to go.

In other news, a few weeks ago I did the GLBTIQ(A) Ally training run by the Equity and Diversity unit at uni. On Monday I signed up to be an ally, and Inigo asked me what it meant.

“Basically, it means that I am a friend to anyone who feels like they are being picked on. By wearing my badge and my lanyard on campus, I am a visible supporter of diversity on campus”, I said.

Inigo thought about it for a few minutes, and said, “Mama, you better make sure you always have your lanyard and badge with you, in case anyone feels sad and needs a friend”.

Love that kid.

My little Star of the Week



My little Star of the Week is head of the class line at assembly.  Quite possibly his favourite part about being Star!

Yesterday he came home with another honour – the librarian has chosen him as the class reader of the week!

As for me, I’ve paid an overdue parking fine, paid about 15 overdue e-tag notices, and opened the huge pile of mail that has been glaring at me since before Christmas.  The joy is that I overpaid a few bills before Christmas, so nothing was overdue, and I am even still a couple of hundred dollars ahead on the water!

So planning for our trip to Vietnam continues apace.  We will spend most of July in Vietnam, and possibly a bit of time in Cambodia.  Mark and I have both dreamed of seeing Angkor Wat, so we may get there this trip.  We’d also like to show him Halong Bay, and Whale Island (where we were staying when we decided to stat a family).  Although we’ll have a couple of nights in relatively posh hotels, I am hoping for the bulk of this trip that we will be able to stay in homestays.  Although Squish is relatively well traveled for a five year old, I would like him to see a bit more of the world, and the way other people live – not to make him appreciate life here more, but to educate him about the struggles that some people live with that you can’t always see.  Right now he is having conflicts with kids in his class – I know that these are kids who have some issues at home, but I don’t want to explicitly tell him about that, just build a general idea around always being kind because we don’t know what the  other person is going through.

Of course that is over simplifying, and I don’t expect him to get all that at age five!  But I traveled the world when I was only a few years older than Squish is now, and I know that it definitely changed the person I became.  And I also think that we will have a much more real experience of Vietnam and have more real connections this way.  Staying in a luxury hotel and only taking tourist transport isolates you from experience.  One of the most memorable experiences of our last trip was ordering boiled eggs on an overnight train and finding unhatched chickens inside the eggs.  I later found out is is a real delicacy, but not to our innocent vegetarian palates!  That sort of thing doesn’t happen on the luxury track!

As a kid my parents took me all around the world, we had to sleep in buses and trains, carry our own back packs, learn to use squat toilets, eat whatever was available (I had porridge for the first time in Thailand, I thought it was disgusting), and climb hills, walk through dusty towns, read maps, try to communicate in a foreign language, and NOT COMPLAIN.  I’m sure we did complain, but clearly it didn’t put me off budget travel!

Mum has paid for our tickets, we have to pay for accommodation and travel.  I don’t have a strict budget worked out yet, but I hope not to have to spend more than $20US a night for accomodation for the three of us(unless we are splurging).  We’ll eat a lot of plain rice unless we can perfect our Vietnamese “we are vegetarian”.

So I need a new passport.  And I am sick of not having my official paperwork match the name I use every day.  I decided to officially change my name, and I began the process today by making an interview for late next month.  After I attend the interview and pay my money, it takes around five weeks for paperwork to come through.  And then I get to apply for my new passport.

And say goodbye to my old name forever.  I won’t legally be able to use my old name at all.  Now I can use either, but after I change it is gone for good.  I feel strangely uncomfortable about severing the tie, despite the fact that the name issue has been a millstone for me for many years.

Star of the Week!

And hot on the heels of my last post, an announcement.  Inigo is KD’s Star of the Week!

For excellent effort in completing his work and trying really hard, Inigo got a presentation certificate, his 8th commendation, a toy, a chocolate, and the right to be first in line for all lines in the next week.

He also got to take home Mrs D’s special space books that she got from America for the weekend.

Did I mention that I love his teacher?

My lovely boy

The first few weeks of school have been hard for my delicious boy.  There are new routines to learn, long days, antagonistic kids (who mostly just have their own issues), and being asked to complete work – whether ir not he finds it interesting.

Weeks 1-3 a patttern emerged of him resisting the work, and doing anything but completing it.  He complained that it was boring, that he wanted to do kid work, not baby work.  He wanted to stare out the window, and observe the other kids.  But colouring, cutting, and sticking was definitely not on his agenda.

The amazing Mrs D put a plan in place for him.  Each day for the last three weeks he has had a chart to fill in happy or sad faces three times a day – happy if he completes his work, sad if he doesn’t.  Since then he has been improving, and most afternoons she and I have a little chat to see how he is going.  I’ve been supporting her by telling him that the interesting stuff will come once he shows Mrs D what he is capable of.  And every day I remind him that he has to try hard.  We don’t expect him to be the top of the class, just to try, and that is where he will find fulfillment in school.

On Monday, he had an “outstanding” day.  And each day since then he has done well.  Today I was volunteering at the school, and as I walked back to the car past his classroom, the teacher (not Mrs D) called me in.

“Inigo was first to finish his work this morning, so now he is being my assistant.  I’m so proud of him, I’m going to give him a commendation for trying so hard”.

And his little face was just bursting with pride.