This time two weeks ago we were on our way to NSW on a site visit/interview to a mine near Muswellbrook. We had been waiting for an offer, or not, until late yesterday.
On Sunday night I was sitting eating chinese in Chinatown in Sydney with Lauren, Ali & Lou when my babies rang to say good night. As soon as Charlotte got on the phone she burst into tears. For the two weeks of holidays she had been bottling up something a classmate had said to her on the last day of school.
One of the other girls in the class was leaving and another child had told Charlotte that the girl leaving 'had never liked her and didn't ever want to be her friend, she just pretended'. Funny thing is the girl saying this to Charlotte has been at the school for all of about 4 months, compared to the 4 years Charlotte had spent with the girl who was leaving. No matter, it cut and it cut her deep.
It was a horrible thing to be sitting in a whole other state on the end of the phone with tears rolling down my cheeks needing to hold her close and knowing that something needed to change. The message was repeated to Charlotte by the same child again on Monday.
On Monday night I didn't sleep. I had much to much whirling around in my head. I am eternally greatful to Ali who chatted with me into the wee hours after I'd been tossing and turning in bed trying to turn my brain off. Over the past months there has been alot of thinking about Charlotte and changing schools.
It is a fairly unique situation in that we plan on moving before the 2012 school year starts and she is currently at a small school with a great teacher who we love but there are only 6 girls, total, in her class and, through no fault of her own, she doesn't feel like she has a single proper friend amongst them. My biggest concern was that if we just tried to 'wait it out' the situation would get so badly under her skin and make her so miserable in the months ahead that the damage done to her self confidence would potentially take years to reverse.
Tuesday morning I arrived home to four very excited to see me children and a semi formed plan of attack in my mind.
I organised a visit to the other school in town for Wednesday morning, which went well.
By the afternoon there was still no answer on Muswellbrook and I was starting to become quite anxious, not to mention the running nose and sore throat that was creeping in. Not something I want to have set in before I head off to Melbourne for Blogopolis tomorrow. I needed some Chicken Soup. Both for the oncoming cold and for my soul.
And I got it.
Steven arrived home with the news that we were not moving to Muswellbrook. Despite being excited at the prospect and having met so many lovely people that live in the area last weekend I felt relieved. Relieved that we finally had our answer and relieved that we could move forward and start properly planning for the second half of the school year.
We sat Charlotte down and properly talked to her about changing schools. The first response my my sweet.beautiful.darling girl was one of concern for the one other girl in the class she does feel comfortable with. That got my tears rolling.
She approached things in a sensible manner and made a list of the good things and bad things about each of the options. Her gut reaction was written all over her face. There was a glimmer of thoughtful smile.
This morning I visited the principal at her school and told her I was moving Charlotte and the reasons why. Then I let her teacher know, that got my tears flowing. It is such a hard hard thing to take our child out of a class with the most perfect teacher for her, but like I said, it's a fairly unique situation.
So I am sitting here with new enrolment forms to fill in and my baby girl will be starting at a new school on Monday. It's a good thing.
As for that chicken soup in the photo, that was our dinner last night. And I'm not sure if it was the soup or the fact several weights have been liften from my shoulders but I am feeling so much better this morning.
Asian Flavoured Chicken Soup
1 whole chicken (preferably organic) with thighs, wings and legs cut off. Leave the breasts on the carcass
1 carrot, halved lengthways
1 red onion, halved
3 Star Anise
200g dried noodles, I used some thin wheat ones (fresh hokkien would work nicely too but you will need a 400g packet...I think that's how big they are)
2 carrots, peeled and grated
a good 5cm knob of ginger, peeled and grated
1 bunch spring onions, cleaned and cut into 1 inch lengths
1 tin baby corn, drained
2 long red chillies, sliced
Light soy sauce, to serve
Making the stock is something that can be done earlier in the day or even a day or two ahead. Making it ahead will give you the opportunity to cool it in the fridge and easily remove the fat off the top.
Fill a large saucepan with 3 litres of water
Add in your cut chicken, star anise and vegies. Bring to a simmer and leave it to bubble away for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked through and the stock is a light brown colour.
Remove chicken and set aside
Strain stock into a large bowl or jug and discard the leftovers
Cool stock in the fridge until the fat had solidified then discard. If you don't have time for this step you can skim some fat off the top with a spoon but that is much tricker ;)
Remove the meat from the chicken. Discard skin and bones. For the soup I just used the white breast meat, I saved the rest (well the bits Jasmine didn't eat) for sandwiches. I'll be honest, the dark meat on a poached chicken smells pretty yuck.
Chop the breast into small pieces
Bring water to the boil in a saucepan and cook noodles.
Divide cooked noodles, chicken, grated carrot and ginger, baby corn, chilli and spring onions between bowls.
Reheat the chicken stock and add to each bowl.
Splash in some light soy to serve.
Slurping is essential...and if you decide to drink the soup from the bowl and your bowl has chopstick holes don't be a donkey like my husband, make sure they are turned away from your mouth :)
Have a lovely Thursday. I am walking ever so much taller today.