Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Moving Past the Negativity

(For non rant-ish normal, educational stuff, scroll down. There is some. Honest.)

Today I screamed blue murder at Emily, and I do mean screamed. What had she done? Nothing - I think she slammed a door running away from a wasp, that was all. Why did I react so badly and in such a disgraceful way? I was, at the time, so furious with something Jon's father was doing that I was almost bursting inside with anger. Emily's harmless action just came at the wrong time, and she bore the brunt of my fury since of course I can't say anything to him, because that would be nasty old Nikki picking on poor defenceless Grandad.

The way I screamed at Emily does indeed make me (for that moment) a very bad mother, but at least it served to teach me a lesson - that we, and especially I, desperately need to find a way to move past the negativity that living in this situation with his father brings. I did of course feel like complete crap for the way I'd reacted to Emily. She cried, I cried, we cuddled, I apologised and tried to explain, it all blew over quickly. But really, living like this is becoming so harmful to us as a family. Something has to change, and since he won't change, I guess it will have to be our attitudes that change.

Which stinks, frankly. We're doing absolutely everything we can for him and putting up with so much disrespect and emotional abuse in return - yet we are the ones that have to change. How does that work, exactly? But we'll have to find some strength from somewhere.

What provoked my fury this morning was that Jon's father went out into the garden and starting cutting down and uprooting a privet hedge. The hedge *is* due for removal, as we're doing something else with that part of the garden. However, Jon had said that he would deal with it himself **** in his own time **** which may well not be until after Christmas. So. This so-ill-can't-walk-for-newspaper man goes out into the garden and starts doing it. Deliberately. Naturally, he didn't finish doing it, because he's "too ill". So it's half done and looks a horrific mess. He knows this. That's why he's done it. He's done it so that Jon will not only feel obligated to go out and sort it all out, but that even if Jon doesn't jump to it smartish, he (father in law) can command Jon to go and do it **now**, because it looks so awful as it is.

My father in law never had any intention of finishing the job. He knew he wouldn't be able to when he started it. He knew exactly what he was doing. He does it all the time with mowing the lawn too. He tells Jon he wants the lawn mowed. Jon says OK, he'll get to in a few day's time. Then his father goes out and starts it himself, deliberately, and leaves it half done, so he can complain about it and get it done there and then. His whole life can be summed up with "he wants it and he wants it NOW". It's pure manipulative spite.

There was a thing in the newspaper this morning (yes, the one Jon had to go and get at the appointed time or else) about Wokingham in Berkshire being the best place in the country to live. Guess who grew up in Wokingham, from the age of 4 to 21 or so? Yep. To be honest I don't recall being that enamoured with the place at the time, lol, but looking back I liked it better than boring, ugly old Lincolnshire, that's for sure. And reading that just underlined, yet again, how trapped we are. We can't move away, anywhere - ***because father in law doesn't want to move*** because it's "too much hassle" and he would make our lives an utter misery before, during and after the process. And of course moving without him is absolutely 2000% out of the question. Apparently. How ridiculous is that?? OK, granted Emily wouldn't want to move away either as this is her home, it's all she's ever known and somehow, miraculously given the situation, she's very happy here. And for the time being, we would probably respect her wishes in that department. But that would be our *choice*. With the father in law situation, we don't HAVE a choice, so it seems, and that cuts like hell.

Anyway. I'm so wound up about all this that I constantly feel like I'm boiling inside. I'll have to change that, somehow, for Emily's sake if nothing else. So. Let's move on. Let's talk about the nice things that have happened in the last few days.

We've rediscovered a box of old books from my childhood, and found lots in there that we want to read together. At the moment, I'm reading Emily "The Story of the Amulet" by E Nesbit, which she's very much enjoying. She was enchanted by Five Children and It and also by The Phoenix and the Carpet, and I'd completely forgotten there was a third part to it! Found The Enchanted Castle, by the same author, in the box too, and I don't think I ever even read that one.

Ancient China study is continuing; we spent Monday afternoon learning about ancient Chinese philosophers, including Laozi/Daoism and Confucius. Emily drew up a chart comparing daoism/confucianism and we discussed a lot about the inherent wisdoms in the two philsophies/belief systems and how well or not they fit our lifestyle, which parts it would be helpful for us to embrace, what practical difficulties there are in following that kind lifestyle and so on. Very interesting.

On Tuesday morning we went with Hazel, Romy and Tansy to the cinema for a free schools showing of Bridge to Terabithia which we found an excellent, if very heart-rending film! I wasn't expecting it to be so emotional; sobbed lots! Emily really enjoyed it and we had some interesting discussions afterwards about how important imagination is and how fantastic (and healing) it can be to escape into a fantasy world. Since Emily spends so much time "in pretend", I think she's a bit of an expert on that, lol.

Emily's made two new friends this week, one at karate on Sunday and one in yoga on Tuesday evening. She also had her yoga test this week, which she passed with flying colours. I was helping in the lesson again and had half an ear in her direction during her test; was extremely proud to hear how impressed the teacher was with her knowlege and understanding of the various poses and their benefits. :-)))

Today, with my ear finally settling down, Emily and I went swimming. She did fantastically well; she's amazing me with how fluent she's become at swimming in such a short time. Once she decided, those couple of weeks ago, that she could "do it" after all, she's just taken off. It's like watching your little chick sprout wings :-))

Today was the day Voldemort and Severus finally learnt how to climb up on to Emily's high bed, too. They had an absolute ball up there. In her own kittenhood, Juliet claimed Emily's bed as her own, usurping our beloved Merlin who had priorly had sole claim to it (Cassie cat didn't "do" beds). It was quite poignant, therefore, but very funny too, to see Juliet's face when she realised her kingdom was no longer safe! To be fair, though, she did stay sleeping up there all afternoon, with the kibbies collapsing asleep up there in the end too - a respectable (and safe!) distance away from JuJu, of course! Here's handsome Severus staking his claim, whilst JuJu retreated huffily to the far corner, lol.

Also today, Emily's been going through a huuuuge box full of her old artwork, which was being prepared to go up in the loft. She must have sorted through hundreds of bits of paper, seperating out a few she was particularly fond of or which had special meaning for her, as she wants to keep those down. The box contents were some (just some!) of her artwork from around age 4 to 6, so she hadn't seen most of it for some time. It was a lovely if emotional (for me) experience.

We even found the two infamous pieces of art that were partially responsible for our decision to look into home ed in the first place: the beautiful multicoloured unicorn she drew for me and Daddy one day, only to have her b*tch of a teacher tell her that we'd be very cross with her for colouring it in such "silly" colours; and the lovely page of minibeast drawings she did for "homework" one night, only to then be terrified of actually showing it to the teacher the next day because she knew it would be belittled or ignored. She did actually refuse. among hysterical tears, to take it in to show the woman. That was a wake up call you just couldn't miss. I'm very fond of those two pieces of art. They symbolise the start of the journey we're on now, really. How far we've all come :-))

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