And it sux as much for me as it does for Damien.
See, being an ADHDer mom means I am considerably more involved in Damien’s schooling than say… my parents were with mine. Because I don’t believe I have a choice. I attend all the meetings. I join all the committees. I give my contact details to all his teachers and I attend every parent-teacher night*.
If you don’t have an ADHDer… this may seem a little extreme.
Lately- again- smoking is an issue.
South African law changed a while ago and outlawed smoking in public places- which includes schools. The department of education is now so strict about it that even teachers are not allowed to smoke on school property and they do inspections. The school now cannot take any chances because if the DOT catches someone smoking on the premises, they can close the school down. A huge complication is that the majority of South Africa’s trade unions are run on communist principles, and they see private schools as elitist, unfair and separatist. And the government has spoken before about outlawing private schools altogether. So now, the learner council is at the gate every morning, collecting and labelling everyone’s cigarettes, and they get them back at the end of the day.
Damien has been caught smoking on numerous occasions, and has paid many a fine for it- but last week he brought home a letter saying he’d been caught again, that he was now on his final written warning before expulsion, and that he had to pay a R50 fine before he could come back to school.
Now- this is the livelihood of several fabulous teachers as well as the owners of the school that’s on the line, not to mention a little over 100 learners who will have to find another school should it get closed down. And I battled for 4 months to find this school for Damien a few years ago- so I know what a mission it would be.
Damien and I had a strong chat about it, and my Glugster spoke to him about how serious this was.
I thought we could breathe for a while.
Then on Monday, I got one of THOSE phone calls to come and fetch Damien as he’d been caught smoking again.
I was furious. Technically this meant he was going to be expelled. I was furious with him and cried all the way to the school. I also called my Glugs and moaned to him too… Then when I got to the school, I couldn’t see the principal, and I was told I must please remove Damien and follow up later.
He got in the car he told me he lost the money I gave him last week Friday, to which I replied with “Bullshit.”
I was too furious to talk!
When I called the principal later (he was invigilating matric exams when I was at the school) he told me that when they said I had told them I sent the money with him last week, Damien went ballistic and shouted and told them I was lying and hadn’t given it to him. He of course also denied smoking- despite the fact that the school has CCTV!!!
So I got the same letter I got last week, which I had to sign this time and return to the school, and I had to pay another R50 fine- which Damien will be paying back to me. He gets no more chances.
And we had another talk.
A longer, much sterner talk.
I informed Damien that should he get expelled from this school, I will not be looking for another one. He will have to find work, start paying board and lodging and buying his own toiletries and so on. I have worked my ass off to find the right schools and doctors and treatments and such for him, and its like I’m doing it all for myself.
Right now, I am tired of doing it all and would pack it in with a smile on my face.
*usually because I am formally invited and allocated a time-slot
Its been about 3 weeks since I last had a cigarette… I think. I don’t keep track of the day I stop otherwise I never stop thinking about it! And I learnt over the years not to tell anyone I was planning to stop either- otherwise they keep asking how its going and just remind you what you’re missing! I am exceptionally lucky in that I don’t find it too hard to stop (don’t hate me). When I’m smoking I smoke like a chimney… 20 cigarettes between 6pm and midnight is about average- and I seldom smoke at work.
And I realised this morning when a colleague brought me what I realised was my second cup of coffee for today- that I didn’t have any coffee yesterday or the day before!
Now if I could just cut out half the eating…
Damien started grade 10 this year, that’s the old standard 8 for us Sowff Effrikuns who are still confused by the change in labels as I am.
Now, in Sowff Effrikun schools this means the learner gets to choose a few subjects that are relevant to his chosen career- or whatever. But it’s a fairly big decision and Damien and I started discussing it early last year already. We looked at the requirements for his BSc (he wants to be a marine biologist and has for as long as I can remember) and then looked at what the school offered.
According the the Sowff Effrikun department of education, English, Afrikaans, Math and Life Orientation are compulsory subjects now, which means the learner may only select 3 subjects. They can have more if they’re prepared to work at it… now frankly, I would rather Damien could drop the L.O. and pick another subject, but these are the rules bunnies.
Damien’s choice came down to Art, Computers and Science. He cannot not do art, and the Science and Math are necessary for his BSc. And one can never go wrong with computers right? This was the discussion I remember having all through the year and this was what I filled in on the forms that went to the school.
So here’s the thing. Early this year Damien tells me (and Glugs was a witness to this exchange) that the computer classes are full and he has to take Tourism instead. I’m not terribly pleased, but I figure it’s a possibility and decide to contact the school.
Since I’m always the first to think the worst when the school calls or when Damien tells me something I try hard to believe what he tells me until I find out otherwise.
So I call the school. I am the PA secretary this year and was on the PA last year, so I know the headmaster pretty well. I ask him about the Computer classes and tell him what Damien told me. He says no, the class is actually not full enough for Damien’s grade; and that Damien has been attending the Tourism class since the beginning of the year! See, Damien still has the option to change subjects within the first few weeks of school, but I think Computers will get him further than Tourism- he can add that later when he finishes school if he wants to.
So I tell the headmaster I will talk to Damien and that he must start attending the Computer classes and not Tourism.
So Damien sends me a text to ask if I’d changed his subjects, and I tell him we’ll talk at home.
To put it shortly, I put my foot down. I am pretty “flexible” when it comes to Damien making his own decisions even if I don’t agree with them (growing his hair, piercing his ear, not tidying his room, not bathing, etc.)… but usually a mommy knows better. So I told him he will take Computers and not Tourism.
He’s not a happy camper this morning.
But I did get a goodbye, and I’m fetching him from school after work as they’re having some sports day or other today.
And currently, I think I may be losing my grip! To be entirely honest, it’s a slope I’ve slid down and climbed many times in my life…
I’ve written and re-written this post over and over again so many times in the last week or so that I’ve lost count entirely (this is the post that’s been tying my brain in knots). Partly because I’ve been debating with myself on whether or not to post it at all… and mainly because actually posting it makes me sound like some kind of lunatic nymphomaniac!
For the last few years I’ve worked at getting back into my Christian “routines” (for lack of a better word) and I’ve enjoyed it immensely- it’s so incredibly fulfilling! And I have been totally celibate for just over four years- by choice. Trust me bunnies, it takes a lot of work for me to maintain that because I know what I’m missing!
I am a Christian; I am not ashamed to say I am. I’m not a “Lordy blogger” like my sister B or like Doula Mel (I just love this description Mel), but I do hope my beliefs come through in my writing somehow… I was saved almost twenty years ago, and I’ve been a church goer all my life. My parents taught Sunday school and we went to the same church until I was about 22 years old. The church supported me through my pregnancy with Damien and the church loved Damien from the day they found out he was coming. I love going to church and bible study and the people I meet with and pray with and I love to feel close to God… I have seen and experienced amazing things, and there’s no doubt in my mind as to who is in charge of the universe…
Aaaaaaand then I hit a rough patch and I stopped going to church and I had a few boyfriends and some not so PC relationships and I partied and gallivanted like a mad thing…
And then I started going to church again and realised just how much I’d been missing!
Now I feel like I have come to a detour again, and for the last few years it was fairly easy to take the “right” road… but lately I’ve been standing at the detour and debating with me, myself and I about how much more entertaining the “wrong” road is and how much work the “right” road is… I think it might be easier for me to opt for the “right” road if I didn’t already know what was in store for me on the ‘wrong” road, but I’ve spent many years dawdling along the scenic route and doing all sorts of things I know I shouldn’t be doing- giving in to the pleasures of the flesh so to speak- and not setting a very good example for my darling Damien. The “wrong” road is just SOOO much more fun…
I think a large part of it is simply a craving for physical affection, and I tell you- if I open that door even just a smidgen the devil has a field day in my head! Not to mention cigarettes, and driving too fast…
So, I am still debating with myself furiously- and trying to pray- but I’m finding it very VERY hard to concentrate on anything apart from the things I’m longing for!
On Monday in class, the learners had to come up with a new invention to sell, something they could market and possibly even make a living off of. Damien won the chocolate that was up for grabs because he came up with…
I tell you, bunnies- sheer bloody genius!
I (being the caffeine addict that I am, having replaced my nicotine with caffeine nearly three years ago) mentioned that coffee with nicotine in could be good too- ‘coz then I wouldn’t have to annihilate my lungs any more than I already have…