Ups and downs

Posted January 9th, 2007 by Penny Wise

Apologies for the lack of blogs lately, it's pretty hard to write anything with a ten year old permanently glued to my shoulder! Yes, our inauspicious start to the new year just keeps getting better – not. Here we are in the midst of the school holidays, supposedly a fun, carefree time for children all over the country – and Liam is suffering badly with anxiety and depression. I'll be honest, I don't know what to do with him any more. Every day is just crap. The thing is, nobody else is doing anything with him either! Yesterday in desperation I took him to see a different doctor because he was starving himself and had lost three kilos in as many days. The doctor told me to put him back on his normal gluten-filled diet for the next ten days before he would perform a blood test to see if he really does have a gluten allergy or if his health problems are psycho-sematic – in his head in other words. Gluten or no gluten, he still hardly eats enough to keep a bird alive any more. Where has my big strapping, happy boy gone? He has no interest in anything any more – it's as though he's totally forgotten how to have fun. The thought of waiting nine more days before I can get something as basic as a blood test doesn't exactly fill me with hope, I'm not sure we can go on that long as we are without getting help. He is paranoid that everything is going to poison him – and I mean EVERYTHING – even his bath water! I don't know why I'm spilling all this out, I was going to keep it quiet but I just don't know what to do. If anyone has any experience of these kind of issues in children, I would really love to hear if you have any suggestions before he drags us all down with him!

With one thing and another I haven't really been out anywhere much lately, but on the occasions I have ventured out at least I have managed to make some savings! I decided to decorate the boys' bedroom in the holidays and managed to save quite a bit on paint thanks to my free Resene store VIP card. Mum donated half the undercoat leftover from her newly decorated bathroom, so I only had to buy a small can and I saved over $60 on a large can of top coat; $30 through buying it during their sale and a further $33 on top of that using my VIP card! It's going to look great and I really hope it cheers Liam up. I took some ideas from the Vault on jazzing up their room cheaply and picked up some plain canvases from The Warehouse. The boys are painting them all black, then I am going to paint emblems from their favourite rugby teams on each one – such as the All Blacks silver fern and of course the Brumbies for Ali. They only cost me $2.99 each as they were clearance stock and they had a flower design on it, but the black paint will cover it no problem. I don't profess to be the most creative person but at that price I figured we could afford to give it a go!

Monday was a bit of an up and down day. Ali was due to attend his Junior Zookeeper's course (for Kiwis, this is at Franklin Zoo just south of Auckland – it's brilliant!) and Liam was supposed to come with me for a day of one-on-one. I was really looking forward to taking him out and spoiling him rotten but the day started off badly and he wasn't up to going out. So I ended up spending four hours browsing the January sales by myself. I was pretty down in the dumps and in the mood for some serious retail therapy, but even with my best efforts it was still a pretty half-hearted attempt compared to my Sad Sally days! I spent an hour and a half going round The Warehouse alone, putting things in my trolley, wandering around deciding if I really needed them or not, then putting things back again. At one stage I even picked up one of those plastic clam shell paddling pools which were on special – not for the boys, they're much too big, but for Tui! She loves swimming so much that I thought she would have a ball in her own little pool, but even that got put back. Largely because the blooming thing kept falling off my trolley, but also because I didn't think it was really necessary. Just as well as Noel certainly didn't think it was necessary when I told him of my bright idea! So I left The Warehouse with nothing more but my flowery canvases and some nice sensible storage boxes – also on special of course! I picked up two large plastic boxes, one to make a 'Rainy Day Box' for the kids and the other to make a 'Gift Box' of things we can put safely away to give as gifts throughout the year.

One of my main missions was to find the best price on a DVD recorder. It had been on our family wishlist for a long time and we had been waiting for prices to come down. The cheapest one I could find anywhere was in The Warehouse for $268 but it wasn't a brand I particularly trusted so I decided to shop around the electrical stores, who all had sales on. None of the other stores came close and I finally ended up at Dick Smith's, where I also have a VIP card. The nearest to The Warehouse in price was $299 and I was wondering how much of a discount I would get with my VIP card when the manager approached me to see if I needed any help. 'It's alright, I'm just price matching and wondering how much of a discount I would get with my VIP card', I said. 'About $5.00' the sales guy said. 'Hmm, that's a shame – the best price I have seen is across the road for $268' I explained. 'Pah, no problem, we can match that for you!' he said. Better still, I was still entitled to my extra $5.00 VIP discount and he threw in a 12 pack of re-writable DVD's too – a total saving of $36! I also saved $50 on another item I had wanted for a very long time in the Noel Leeming sale – a food processor. I had wanted a particular model for ages but wasn't prepared to pay full price, so when I saw the special advertised in the front of the shop, I wasn't going to leave it there! Under normal circumstances, my shopping spree would have been a lot of fun, but it's just not the same when you're sad – I bought them three days ago and haven't even taken them out of my car yet!

NEWSFLASH!!! Wow! I can't believe I'm writing this on the same day! This morning, things were bad enough with Liam that I seriously considered having him referred to a child psychologist. I really didn't want to go down that path and luckily Noel was at home to talk me out of it. Instead, I decided to call Fran Sheffield the homeopath and beg her to help me. Fran has a huge waiting list but I was in such a state she managed to squeeze me in this afternoon. After a 40 minute phone conversation, she told me to give Liam a remedy that I had on hand and had used myself previously to treat anxiety. I'm not kidding, within half an hour of taking the remedy, Liam was playing, laughing, drawing and telling me he was hungry before raiding the pantry. Asking me for potato chips was like music to my ears! This is the same kid who has spent days silently prone on the couch over the past ten days. He even looks better now! Better still, he feels it too and as I write this he is happily tucking into his dinner. I kid you not, you would have to see the difference to believe it. I can't stop smiling! I never thought I would feel so happy at the sight of him and Ali fighting again. We may only be ten days into January, but already this could be my best saving of the year – Fran might just have given me my son back!

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