Over the last few days I have started to try and assess how we as a family have coped with the move back to Australia. We have been back in Oz for 2 months, and in our home for about 6weeks. Surely that is enough time to find our feet?
Well, there are still boxes to be unpacked (mainly in my craft room), and cupboards to be reorganised as we continue to find that original storage ideas were not as convenient or intuitive as initially thought.
DH seems to have settled straight into work routines, having found the best and worst times for train travel into the city. I am enjoying the occasional work from home days he takes (I guess that is the perk of being the boss), it makes up in part for the fact that he is away from home longer each day (commute times). We still have some finetuning on the delineation of domestic tasks. He does make an effort, and for that I am thankful ... its just that there is soo much more to be done in a house this size compared to our tiny apartment. It would be nice for me to have time to think about something other than cleaning, laundry, gardening etc!
The kids are going OK at school. We had parent-teacher meetings this week. Ms A is doing fine, with the exception of spelling. Apparently her skills are ahead or on par with the rest of the class, which suggests to me that curriculum was harder in Singapore. I really felt that she struggled in G3 and her grades put her on the low side of average (more she wasn't pushed to apply herself, and instead enjoyed being a social butterfly). Interestingly, I think it the social side she is having trouble with now. She was faced with the difficult situation of making friends in the middle of the school year, when friendship groups are already established. It is unusual for mid year commencement here. In Singapore, comings and goings were an expected thing, and the kids were much more accepting of change. Here I see Ms A being "locked out", almost as if she is seen as a "try hard" by trying to initiate friendships with everyone. She doesn't seem to notice when she is given the brush off, but I see it regularly when I am doing the school run with her. It doesn't seem to faze her, maybe I'm making a bigger deal out of it than it really is.
MrT is loving school. He seems to have found a close group of friends already, and is excited to have been invited to 2 birthday parties. Academically he has coped with the step up really well. I knew he was doing well in reading and maths in Singapore, but there wasn't much in the way of bookwork going on when he was in kindergarten. He arrived mid way through year 1 (effectively missing 6mths schooling) and was thrown in the deep end with expectations for journal writing, dictation, spelling etc. These were all new things for him. He struggled for the first couple of weeks, but has really excelled himself now. He is the top reader (by 3 or 4 levels), and ahead in maths too. His writing is holding him back, and I could have laughed when the teacher said maybe we should think about OT referral if it doesn't improve soon. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I am an OT. I will work with him at home to improve stroke formation, fluency and endurance, but I'm not overly concerned. I know it's not a neuromotor problem or anything - just exposure. It doesn't help that he is left handed, male, and had learnt a different script style. We'll get there!
Now, as for me, how am I coping with all the changes? I honestly don't know. For the most part I have been busy trying to create/maintain normalacy for everyone in the family. I still grieve for what I have lost in terms of lifestyle, friends, work etc in Singapore. I know I have gained lots being in Sydney too: closer to family (can't believe dad came up and stayed for a couple of days to help organise the garden); weekend barbies etc.
There is a lot holding me form fully embracing the circumstances I now find myself in. I still feel bitter that I didn't have more say in the matter, and I still don't feel I have much control in whats going on. One of my biggest gripes is that I don't really understand our financial situation, and having been the one that paid the bills etc in Singapore, not knowing what our budget looks like at the moment scares me. I still don't have an ATM card for goodness sake! I don't know if I should be looking at going back to work straight away or not. I don't really want to, but I have to if I want to continue my involvement with FFC, and at least its an avenue to meet people.