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Friday, August 30, 2013

The Good, Bad & Ugly

I'm sitting in the nail salon, reviewing a book for a friend and getting my toes done.  I'm in seventh heaven ...until my cell phone rings.

These boys make my head hurt! 
Photo Courtesy of Bitstrips on Facebook
The Ugly

Red  had his first outburst of anger at school ...in the cafeteria, where friendship and feelings of unpopularity have triggered him in the past.  We gave him the benefit of the doubt since his attitude has been so upbeat and optimistic for weeks now.  He has been focused on the positives and not fixating on the negatives.  So, we went ahead and gave him the freedom to choose where he would eat lunch.  

He sold us a good bag of goods about how he wanted to be free to talk to his peers during his last semester on the high school campus.  Well apparently, he can't keep his mind off of the one peer who is dissing him -not showing him any love, instead of focusing on the friends he wants to get to know.

Apparently, a trigger, is still a trigger.  He is unable to make the alternate choices of going into 2 different sensory friendly areas where he can have lunch.  One is  a classroom where there is a quiet group sitting, talking and hanging out. The other is called Base Camp, where they can't eat, play video games, board games or table tennis. 

HELLO! Who wouldn't chose that? Red -obviously.

Instead, he chooses to go into the cafeteria where he ends up acting out, badly.  As a result, the adults in his life, have to make the choice for him.  I am terribly disappointed by this turn of events.  He doesn't seem to learn anything from the past and makes these impulsive decisions that puts himself in compromising situations.  He knows the right thing to do.  But when he gets angry, all bets are off.  He does not think rationally.  This is a pretty scary thing for a young, black man who is getting ready to turn 18.   

The Good

The good news is...Blue was nervous and anxious about going to the first high school football game, but he really wanted to go.  His friends are in the band, and he wants to be there to see them play.  His Social Skills teacher told him about a sprit group that he can run through the tunnel with down on the field, and then sit with this group in the stands.  The idea of being with new people, and running out on the field where people would be "looking at him" was a scary thought.

I encouraged him to step out of his comfort zone and take the chance on meeting some new people and having some fun.  I told him if he started to feel really uncomfortable, just give us a call and we would pick him up.  I knew he would end up loving it!

He took the bate! He went to the game and so far...no phone call to come home!

The Bad

Red can not and has never, gone to a high school game at least not since he's been in high school.  He is a now senior.  He was going to go tonight for the first time with Blue and another friend.  But he made some choices today that will not allow that to happen.

I'm going to try to focus on the good news.

Blue is at the first game, of his first year as a high school freshman.
Go Blue!
I hope you enjoy the game!

Now back to reviewing my book...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Morning Scene -Take 1,079

I hit the floor at 7:05 to prodding Blue, out of bed saying sweet good mornings -playing the part of the sweet mommy that I am not.  By 7:15 I'm tapping my fingers on the wall, irritating the hell out of him, but hey -that's what it takes to get him up.

Meanwhile, up pops Red out of his room -early. What the heck is he doing up?  If I needed him up this early, he'd be dead to the world, just like Blue is.

You see, I try to work them in shifts so that they are never in the same room at once in the mornings.  Hopefully, they're not even on the same floor in the house for long.

By 7:20 Blue is now sitting next to me on the couch in the family room asking me to make him something for breakfast after he just yelled at me, "Sorry MOM! I can't move right now!"
"Um...dude.  I will not be making you anything this morning.  Try pouring yourself a bowl of cereal."  He sits another 5 minutes or so.

Out comes Red from the bathroom.  He sits across from us in the family room, stemming by shaking his legs, starring at and irritating his brother.  "My gums hurt Mom." He had wisdom teeth pulled last week.
"Go take your medicine," I say.  Hoping to get him out of the room with Blue.  But no! He sits.

Blue finally goes down to eat.  A good 25 minutes have been wasted.  I know he will be late for the bus. I'm steaming, but not losing it...yet!

Red is still sitting, not moving towards taking his pain medicine or his shower. I get up so as not to provide an audience for him.  He freakin' follows me!  He drops his gigantic 240 pound body onto my bed. He's getting in my space.  He's bothering the dog.

I ask him to remove himself from my room -to go get in the shower.  He is purposefully annoying the crap out of me.  I am pissed!

Blue comes upstairs.  I direct Red downstairs.
It's a dance.
"But what about my shower?"
"Too late!  You should have done it before he came up. Go eat your breakfast."

Later, the bus comes.  Surprise! Blue isn't ready.  He gets really anxious and angry when he's rushed. He finally screams down...tell them to go on! I cant make it!
I.Want.To.Scream!
Red yells up the stairs, "You better pick up the pace boy!"
Do I need his help? NO! He's making Blue more anxious and angry. I ask him to be quiet.  Does he listen? No. He yells, "You better hurry up!"
Finally, I tell the bus to go ahead.  Of course, seconds later -here comes Blue down the stairs.
I am over the moon with piss and vinegar at this point.
Red stands there talking more crap to his brother.  I know this will lead to blows between the two of them.
I actually pinch Red's 17 year-old arm and tell him to get up the stairs.

I drive Blue to school -trying to maintain my composure, but I'm livid!
"Late mornings are going to happen mom.  What's the big deal.  I'm only late because I had to go to the bathroom."
Hardly!
I tell him what the schedule will be for tomorrow morning.  It will not involve me prodding.  He will get up on his own, one half hour earlier with his alarm clock.

When I get back home from taking Blue, I grab the bottle of tylenol and a cup of coffee.  Red says, "What's the medicine for?"
"For the pain in my ass!"
I know...awful right? Couldn't help it. 

I make my second run to the high school dropping him off.  He starts a little later.

We get there and of course, he continues to try to annoy me.
He won't get out of the car.
He's yapping his mouth and asking me, why am I so mad?
I ask him again to get out of the car.
Finally, he says,  "I don't know where to go."
Me? I say...
"Go-to-hell! Just get out of my car!"
Really bad huh?
Yeah...I know.  Oh well! I'm not perfect. 
And I burn rubber out of the school parking lot!

Bailey's and coffee anyone?




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Torchy's Tacos & the Blue Moon

Courtesy of Torchy's Tacos.com 
Only my Aspie son would freak out about why the hot taco place in Austin is named Torchy's, and why the symbol on their logo is a little devil.   I am guessing they are named Torchy's because their tacos are hot and spicy as hell.  At least that's what I surmised by trying to research it this morning.  Wonder if anyone else has ever googled, "Why is Torchy's Logo a little devil?" Most people probably don't care.  It certainly wasn't on my radar, before Red brought it up to me yesterday.

There's a new one in our neighborhood and of course, Blue, my foodie, has to go check it out.  We've been to other locations in Austin before.  I have taken Red there for breakfast tacos after a therapy appointment. He was apprehensive at first, because it was something new, but once he tasted that fresh, bacon and egg taco -he loved it.

He's been in a particularly good mood for weeks now since he returned from the Christian Autism Camp, and Jesus is his new best friend.  But yesterday, was a little...um...strange.  His mood was fine all day until we walked through the door at Torchy's.

All of a sudden he had this angry, scowl on his face, like he was disturbed by something.  It almost seemed like he was in a daze or a trance.  I took it as -he's just checking out the scene here.  He's apprehensive because it's lunch time, and he's not sure if he will like the regular tacos as opposed to the breakfast ones he's already tried.  

Finally, I asked him, "Why do you look so angry?"
"This place is satanic," he says.  "Do you see that devil on the logo?"
I try to brush it off.
"Honey, that's just about their taco's being torched with fire. I don't think it's meant to be offensive, or devil worshipping."
At least I had never thought about it and I hope not.
"I would NEVER work here.  In fact, I don't want to come here again," he says.

Well, he ate his plain chicken and cheese tacos so fast you would never know he didn't like the place.  Except for the fact that as soon as he finished wolfing down his food, he started in on this whole negative vibe talking about going back to school, and girls, why he can never find a girlfriend.   The nice girls are always taken.  How he's going to ask out a girl this year and he doesn't care if she has a boyfriend.  "It's up to her to say no or not.  And if her boyfriend gets mad...well that's his problem."

Wow! What happened to Jesus's new best friend?
"That doesn't sound like something Jesus would do or that he would want you to do. In fact, it sounds like you're looking for trouble.  Besides, any girl who will dump her boyfriend to go out with you, will end up dumping you for the next best thing. She has no loyalty.  Why would you want someone like that?"

These little, essential nuances about dating and relationships, he has absolutely no clue about.  Why should he? He's never dated!

He went on and on talking in circles until he was making himself angry, and of course, then blaming it on me.  I mean he would not shut up! They serve margaritas at this place.  Too bad I hadn't ordered one.

The other thing about this day was that there was a Blue Moon.  Was it the Blue Moon that was making him talk this crazy talk?  Or was it the Torchy's little devil?

The crazy talk went on after we left and while we shopped in Target.  I had him get his own basket and shop from his own list for groceries.  I tried my best to stay away from him the store because I'd had it with the negativity. Every time we saw each other, he started back up -making himself more and more agitated with each negative statement.

Finally, on the way home, I told him...
"It looks like the devil is sitting right on your shoulder right now telling you to be angry and you're listening to him.  I'm sure your friend Jesus is really disappointed."

Truthfully, I still don't know if it was the Blue Moon, Torchy's little devil, anxiety about going back to school, or maybe just plain old Aspergers -heavy on the ass.  But I was certainly glad to pour my cocktail, shut my door, go to sleep and leave the negativity behind.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Learning to Say No


I just said no to my kid about something and I want a freakin' round of applause!  Why? Because not long ago I would have done exactly what it is that they want me to do, and then just stewed and steamed and been pissy about it later.  After a while that resentment builds up. I blow a gasket and I'm ready to blow somebody's head off.  Unfortunately, it's usually my husband's head.

I don't want to go there.  So...I learn.  I improve.  I grow up and preserve myself more and more each day.  I will always be a work in progress.

I am already pissy that my husband is off on a business trip in the city where my best friend lives.  He actually had dinner with her and her fellow last night, while I'm stuck here taming the wild animals.

It's just not that simple to pick up and go whenever I want to.  Blue has R.O.T.C. camp today.  Red has therapy tomorrow.  Blue has High School camp tomorrow night.  I can just pick them up and take them with me or dump them off somewhere.  I have responsibilities.  Besides, taking them with me would be an exercise in torture...not the break that I need.  So ...I'm here doing all the things that need to be done, and not loving every minute of it.

Teenagers will ask you to turn flips, frontwards, backwards and upside down if you are stupid enough to fall for it.  I've raised 3 of them! Trust me! Got the stupid sticker on my forehead apparently!  Well...not today boys!

Today, Red wanted me to pick up his friend who is visiting with his grandmother, 15 or 20 miles away.  Of course, they wanted me to drive back and forth to pick him up, let him hang out and then drive him back tonight.  Uh uh! Nope! Sorry. Hold the phone! It Ain't happening!

I am more than willing to do one, but not both.  I'm sorry if your grandmother is not feeling well and doesn't have the energy to bring you.  I totally understand.  What about your father?  Or your grandfather?  You see my other half is off having fine dinners and sleeping in a quiet hotel room.  So he can't help me run interference.  I am simply not willing to take these back and forth trips in 100 degree heat.  Gas is expensive! And then I have to feed you.  I already fed you once this week! Not to mention, all of the other obligations I already have.  Um...No!  Sorry.Dudes! 

So here's what's going to happen.  I will be glad to pick you up tomorrow...after Red's therapy appointment.  Give me your dad's number and lets figure out how he can help with that.  Oh...I see.  Dad can pick you up tomorrow night after you hang out here tomorrow afternoon.  Great! That will work for me.  See you then! 

My mama didn't raise no fool!  Well...maybe she did.  But I'm learning! I'll take my round of applause now!

Thank you! Thank you very much! I'll be here all week! Don't forget to tip your waitresses.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Educational Advocacy 101 for Parents

Hey Peeps!

Today I was a part of a panel on Back to Us -Blog TalkRadio about advocating for our kids in educational settings. I would love if you would check it out. It is archived here....

Educational Advocacy 101 for Parents 08/11 by Back To Us | Education Podcasts

Also if you haven't read the post on this blog about I.E.P's (Individual Education Plans) you really should.  There is a wealth of information here.

A Tale of 2 I.E.P.'s -is written by me about two very different I.E.P. meetings I had for both of my sons.

Surviving the I.E.P. is written by my friend Le Linda Faulk and edited by myself.  Incredible resources are listed in this post.

Both of these posts have 2 parts...so be sure and read them all. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Um...No!

Slowly, I am learning to just-say-no to things I that I simply do not want to do.  I do a lot for other people...a lot!  In fact, I would venture to say the majority of my life is spent living for others.  That's not a bad thing unless, you end up completely giving yourself away to the point where you have nothing left.  I have been known to do that in the past --the recent past.  It's like you're just giving out little pieces of candy on Halloween and before you know it...the entire bag is gone and you have nothing left for yourself.  Some people might end up raiding their kid's candy bag for chocolate once they get home.  But of course, I would never do that!

As a mom, have you ever gone to the store to buy groceries --keeping in mind every individual's special wants and needs?  This one likes this cereal.  This one likes yogurt.  This one likes trail mix.  The other one wants ice cream.  You get home only to discover that you have bought absolutely nothing that YOU like.  You end up with nothing for yourself.  No wonder you've begun to hate going to the grocery store.  It has become another chore, another job that you do for everybody else!

As we sat at the breakfast table this morning one by one, the boys start to inform me of their plans for the day.  They are telling me who needs rides where, and when and requesting that I pick this friend up and have that friend over.  Meanwhile, I have my own obligation to take my mother to the airport for her annual trip to visit her brother.  Yes -Lord! Thank you for the Beverly reprieve!  Sure I'll have to wash more dishes and do more laundry, but I will have to go to the store less for wine!  And will take less trips to Target, her doctors, hair and nail salons. 

I can not be all things to all people, at all times.  Sometimes the answer is -Yes.  Sometimes the answer is...um...NO! 

Yes -Red, I will pick up your friend and allow him to spend the night at our house.
Yes.  My answer has a lot to do with the fact that I am so freaking thrilled that you finally have a really nice friend that you connect with.  O.K. maybe it also has to do with the fact that when your friend is here, at least you aren't talking MY head off and wanting me to entertain you. 

No  -you can not go with me to the airport or with me to pick up your friend.
I want to spend that time with my mother alone, without listening to you talk! 
I also plan on stopping on the way back to have lunch ALONE! 

No -Blue I can not take you to the YMCA to swim today.
I will be busy taking care of my mother.  You can ask your dad.  You do have more than one parent.  I'm sorry if you're mad at your dad.  You better try to talk it out with him if you want a ride.

Yes -Blue. Your friend J. can come over this evening.
No -I will not be taking you and  J to the mall or to the movies when he comes over.
I'm sorry you can't figure out what you and your friend will do here ...other than spend time together hanging out.  That part is not my problem. 

Yes  -Red's friend N. I will pick you up.
No  -I will not bring you back to your grandmother's house tomorrow.
Your dad can pick you up and take you back to your grandmother or home.  Whatever works.  Otherwise, you can just STAY at your grandmothers.  I am not making 2 trips into Austin, while your parents do whatever it is that they are doing.
No -I will not be taking you two to the movies.
Do you guys have any money? No?  Well there you go! 

Yes -Husband.  You can run away while I have the teenage friends over.  Because OMG, I know you can't really stand extra teenagers in the house.
However,  you will have to spend some time with your sons this afternoon while I disappear.

So, I take my mother to the airport.  Get her all taken care of.  I burn rubber in the parking lot and then stop here:


I have a perfectly sinful, cheesy, spinach, mushroom, crawfish and shrimp fondue. A delicious, cold glass of wine. 

It was the best hour of my day. 

My mama didn't raise no fool!