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Fried geckos

At long frigging last!! Miss Boats has managed to get hold of a company to come and sort out this ridiculous driveway gate saga … the damn thing was seriously cooked!!

Anyway, it turns out that the reason for all its nonsense – opening by itself, not opening, not closing, getting stuck, etc – was because there was a nest of geckos in the motor!! Shame, poor things. So we’ve chucked in a load of mothballs to keep them away and hopefully that will be the end of the gate crap! So there’s a tip for you – if your automatic gate is playing up, check for geckos (or ants!).

The same company is also sorting out the problem of the doorbell not ringing through to the office so I don’t have to keep answering it here in the house. At last … ringing doorbells or telephones and me do NOT get along well.

Speaking of  ringing telephones, I got a call on my cell last night. Normally I NEVER answer my phone (everyone knows to sms me if they want to get hold of me), especially if the number comes up as “private”. But something made me take that particular call. It was the clinic, telling me that Son#1 was having an asthma problem and could I please organize a pump for him!

So I’ve just been to drop off the pump and I also took in a bag of “eat treats” for him too – some fruit juice and biscuits and stuff. I thought I was trying my luck with that one, but they were fine with it and said they’d pass it on =)  They also told me that he’s doing ok!! They said he was looking comfortable, getting to know everyone and settling in really well. “And what a polite boy he is!” Hehe.

*grin*  So I’m feeling 1000% better after hearing that. YAAAY!!

Big bear hugs and sloppy wet kisses, my boy … xxx

On a another note, our website move that started yesterday is ALMOST sorted … hopefully the DNS transfer is over and done with pronto!

And what an absolutely STUNNING day it is in Cape Town today! Just gorjis …

Right, I’ve lost 2 days of regular work now so I’ve got tons to catch up on. I’d better get to it before Miss Boats fires me again =)

*cranks up iTunes … can’t actually decide what to listen to …guess it’ll be my old favourite – Jeff Buckley is ALWAYS a good choice, I reckon*

Deep breaths

I think this has to rate right up there as one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

I got back from the clinic about an hour ago, heart broken and tear stained, after spending 2 hours in the room while the counselors spoke to my son and asked him questions. I wasn’t allowed to open my mouth or even nod my head! I felt so helpless, and angry. I’ve got the sobbing under control now, I think … I’ve washed my face, taken a few deep long breaths and reminded myself to think long-term – to think that this is for HIM, this is what HE needs, to put my selfish “already missing him” thoughts aside and remember that this is for HIS sake.

*breathe*

I wish I wasn’t being such a cry baby about this. I have NO idea why I’m so upset. I should be coping a whole lot better – I’m the “Mother” FFS! In my head I know he’s going to come out at the other end of this programme a changed person, for the better – stronger, more in touch with who he is and better equipped to deal with everything.

*breathe*

But I know how hard it’s going to be for him, especially for the first few days when he is not allowed to have any contact with any of us. It’s going to be so strange, for both of us – we’ve always been just an sms or a phone call away from each other when he’s not here at home. Now that’s gone, for the moment, at least.

*breathe*

I’m going to have to tell his GF and dad that they can’t see him. Not yet – the counselors said they will evaluate when he is ready to have them visit him. I can go and see him on Friday afternoon, after the Parent Support Group. When I first heard about the Support Group for the parents, I scoffed at it … but now, I wish it was Friday already! I think I’m beginning to appreciate just how strong my mother was when we booked my half sister in to the addiction centre next door to KAYA.

*breathe*

So he’s there now, in their care. It’s right.

Too big for their brains

I must admit to taking some comfort from this article I came across on the IOL Babynet website a while ago when I found myself relating to the awful behaviour described, as dished out by teens to their moms.

While things have been pretty steady and calm of late, I have had to deal with broken doors and stuff before! And yes, when they are much bigger than you, extremely unpredictable and sometimes volatile, it can get a little hairy. What do you do?

If you are at the end of your tether living with a teenager that’s driving you potty, then this book may be worth getting …

Before Your Teenagers Drive You Crazy, Read This!
Nigel Latta (HarperCollins).

HOW TO DEAL WITH YOUR ANGRY TEEN
By Carroll du Chateau, New Zealand Herald

Imagine you are a single mother, with a 14-year-old son whose bedroom is a tip. During one argument over mouldy toast under the bed, he punches a hole in the wall. He is so bad-tempered and unpredictable you’re secretly slightly scared of him. What do you do?

“Not easy”, says clinical psychologist, Nigel Latta. “But do-able.”

The first thing to realise is that teenagers have outgrown their brains. Their judgment is faulty. Most of the time they’re driven by hormones and physical triggers that mean they are not in control of either their minds or their bodies. “If you take teenagers seriously they can be terribly hurtful,” he says. “I spend a lot of time explaining to parents that though their child is looking more and more like an adult he’s still a long way from being there. So when he starts saying ‘I hate you’, and ‘you’re a f&*%ing b*tch’, you shouldn’t take it seriously.”

“It doesn’t excuse the behaviour but if you can understand it, it doesn’t freak you out, scare you or hurt you quite as much.”

“Once you have calmed down”, he says, “take control of the situation. Be the adult. Act confident. Above all, don’t get emotionally involved no matter how much they taunt you.”

Latta recommends watching the parenting style of silverback gorillas on Youtube to get a feel for how laid-back you need to be. And true, after a few minutes of watching the silverbacks mooch around on their knuckles, chew leaves, twirl with joy to the spray of a hose, play with their babies and deal the odd swipe when they need to, you start to get the idea.’

The next step is to follow the detailed instructions in his new book, Before Your Teenagers Drive You Crazy, Read This!

If this all sounds way over-the-top it is important to realise that 40-year-old Latta has a string of qualifications in both private and government-related counselling that stretches to 18 years of dealing with many of this country’s nastiest, rudest, worst-behaved children and teenagers.

Latta’s methods have a chime of clear, workable sense – both for the model nuclear family (two parents, plus 2.1 children), single parents with grouchy, angry, physically imposing offspring, down to kids so dysfunctional they end up before the courts.

Latta believes the key to effective parenting is good communication coupled with robotic disengagement – remaining removed and dispassionate no matter how your teenagers act up.

You also need to teach your children cause and effect. “Which”, says Latta, “includes punishment, even if it isn’t fashionable.” As he says, positive reinforcement alone does not work. “If you look at youth and the increasing number of kids who don’t give a monkey’s about things like restorative justice and family group conferences, we should all be worried.

“What we have to do is work out the difference between punishment and being punitive,” he says. As he sees it, being punitive isn’t effective. Punishment, on the other hand, makes it uncomfortable for kids to keep on doing bad things – and is vital. “Punishment remains an effective way to change behaviour,” he writes. “Give them reasons to be good by all means. But we must also give them reasons not to be bad! Effective punishment means people have to sit down and do the maths – and work out why it doesn’t add up to keep on offending.”

So back to that out-of-control 14-year-old. How do you snap the circuit and make him behave?

As Latta said at the beginning, it may not be easy, but it is perfectly do-able. “And,” he adds, “it is complicated. You really do need to read the book!”

Not easy? Complicated? You’re not kidding!

OK, so his whole interview adds up to one big sales pitch, which may send up a red flag. But seriously, if you’re struggling and feeling completely defeated, then you might want to give this book a chance.

No – I am not part part of some affiliate scheme, nor do I get any payment for writing this (or any other post for that matter).