Thursday, March 27, 2014

That WTF Moment

You know how you leave an I.E.P. (individual education plan) meeting and then digest everything that was said, then you're like ...WTF?

I had 2 meetings in the same day. Both were successful.  In fact, I  was extremely proud of Red!  He ran his meeting like a champ! At Last Year's Meeting  Red sat down and said, his number one goal was to become popular! That’s it! I was flabbergasted. While Blue ran his meeting like a total boss! This year was like night and day for Red.  

Red's Powerpoint Presentation
Prepared 100% on his own
If you're wondering why I still have 2 meetings, even though Red is finished with his high school credits.  It's because he is in the Adult Transition program through the school district.  The program is helping him grow personally in to adulthood  -preparing him for independent living and transitioning into college.  

Blue has some concerns about the STARR test for Language Arts, which is the latest Texas version of standardized testing. This is the only class where he has an 82 average.  All other classes are 90’s and above. He just does not get all of the figurative language, and the author's intent, especially in fictional writing and poetry.  He also probably could give less than a damn about the author's intent. Kind of like I felt about algebra when I was in high school.  

Blue posed the question to the committee, “What if I don't pass it?” 

The answer given was he would be given several opportunities to retake it.  In the end, if he didn't pass it, the I.E.P. Committee could decide to wave the testing and change his graduation plan to minimum plan.  Which would mean, he would have to go to Community College before he goes to a university.  

Since I know he will pass, I didn’t take issue with the answer.  But after the fact, I thought about this and I'm like ...really? WTF? So a kid who is taking AP math and Science and getting A's would be reduced to minimum plan because he doesn't get figurative language and can't pass some stupid, subjective, standardized Language Arts test? Um. Hell no! 

He will pass.  They just try to scare the shit out of them and make the test seem harder than it is, so they will end up passing.  This within itself, pisses me off.  But what about those students who can't pass it? This is ridiculous!  The state of Texas Department of Education needs to hear from this big mouth mama, and from you too if you have a kid with an I.E.P. 

If it came down to them changing his graduation plan, there would be a law suit. Idiots! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Consulting Parent

I believe there comes a point when you are no longer in charge of every decision your child makes about his or her life. You become the consultant, not the executive in charge.  When you arrive at this crossroads, you can only try to guide the child in making the most beneficial choice for his or her life.
You're only deluding yourself if you think you're in control. -Confessions Of An Aspergers Mom -Facebook Status, 3/25/14

So when you find your 15 year-old kid looking at inappropriate videos on the internet, no not sexual in nature, this time.  Nevertheless, they are non-productive for his life, with loads of explicit language and gratuitous violence. You can go the route of forbidding him to watch these videos.  You can take away privileges for a time.  Take away the phone, the computer, the game system. Sooner or later, he will find his way back to the filth and ignorance if he really wants to.  So how do you handle the situation? 

Well, I’ve been to this rodeo before with my now 25 year-old son.  I never allowed guns in my home.  He made them out of legos or played with them when he went to his birth-mother's house. I didn’t buy violent video games.  He played them when he went to visit friends or relatives. When we found that he was looking at videos of an inappropriate nature, we took away the computer. We grounded him from driving the car and so on.  We put the computer out in the family room, put on parental controls, etc.  

Did this stop him from finding a way to watch them again sooner or later? Absolutely, not.  

When I was a teen, my mother kept a very tight reign on me.  It never kept me from doing one.single. thing. I really wanted to do.  I had the will.  I found a way. Instead of spending all of her time, forbidding me to this or that, I would have been better served, if she spent her time teaching me how not to give myself away to the lowest bidder, just because I wanted attention. And by lowest bidder I mean guys who didn’t deserve my attention or my love.  I would have been better served by being guided into making better decisions for myself.  She did the best she could, bless her heart.  Thankfully, I didn’t turn out too bad.  I finally figured things out …my way. 

In this case of Blue, my now 15 year-old son, I think the lesson lies in helping him figure out what kind of person he wants to be.  Do you want to immerse yourself in language that will have you constantly thinking negative thoughts?  I realize you are going to hear foul language out in the world, especially, on the high school campus.  But do you want to have that language so deeply in your psyche that it’s stuck in your head all of the time.  Then you end up getting yourself into trouble by using it at the inappropriate time. You do know you have issues with anger.  When you immerse yourself in this language, you’re not going to take the time to think when you’re angry.  You’re just going to let words fly out of your mouth and then deal with the consequences. 

Yesterday I heard you calling your brother a prick.  Do you even know what that means? No.  You don’t. I asked you what it meant and you thought it meant stabbing someone with something.  Um…No. That would be using the word as a verb.  When you call someone a prick, you’re using it as a noun…And not a very nice one.  Certainly not one you want to be using in front of your mother, or your grandmother.  Do you want to be viewed as someone who is disrespectful or do you want others to think that you’re intelligent enough to come up with better vocabulary with which to express yourself? 

When my brother was your age, he often found himself in all kinds of trouble, but he NEVER used certain language in front of my mother or grandmother.  He had too much respect for them.  

No. Looking at these videos does not make you a bad person.  I know all of your friends are looking at this crap too.  One person sees it.  He shows it to you.  You show it to another friend.  You are all sucked into believing this is good entertainment.  What I would like you to think about is what else could you be doing with your time that would make you into the person that you would like to be? 

You’re not alone son.  I have different groups of friends, some who lead me to do doing better things with my life, and others who are counter-productive.  Don’t get me wrong, I still like many from the counter productive group.  But after a while, I find myself thinking …is this what I want to do with my life?  Is this the person that I want to be?  If not, then I will find myself moving in another more positive direction.  If those friends would like to come with me, they are welcome.  If not, that’s o.k., but I may not have as much time to give you, because I am moving forward in my life. 

I pray son, that you will make good choices for yourself.  I will be here to support those good decisions when you make them. 


I state above that I am not the expert Mom with all of the answers.  Do you have good solutions to helping our teenagers make better decisions for themselves? I value your input, even if I don’t agree with it. Comment below. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Love Thy Neighbor / Kill Thy Brother

Last night I dreamed of my neighbor who has not been well in quite some time.  I've been wanting to visit her ...prepare a meal for her family.  O.k. Who am I kidding? I know I don't have time for that. So last week, I bought her a beautiful plant.  Since she was in my dream last night, I knew that I had to visit her --today. No excuses.

The boys are having a snack and watching Sponge Bob, together, almost peacefully.  I think it's a good time for me to make a quick exit to my neighbors house. My mom is at home, of course.  I'm going over for 15 or 20 minutes.  They will be fine. No problem, right? Right?

As I am leaving Red whines, "But where are you going? I want to come."
"Come on dude.  I'll only be gone for a few minutes. I don't know exactly how she's doing.  I want to visit her by myself."
Why I need to explain this...I have no idea.
"But I want to pray for her!"
"Great. You can pray for her from right here.  I'll be right back."

15 minutes later, there is a ring at my neighbor's door.  Guess who? Not one, but both boys.  They are panting as if they've been running.  I notice an object in Blue's hand. It's a bar-b-q spatula -a large one.

"I'm sorry mom but I just wanted to come over here and see Ms. C. and Blue was chasing me," Red says panting and trembling.
"Mom! You told him not to come over here, so I was trying to stop him! He just doesn't listen!"

Imagine these two huge teenage boys, chasing each other across the street, one with a spatula in his hand,  yelling at his older brother.  "GO.BACK.HOME! You need to learn how to listen!"

My neighbor's husband is also standing at the door.  Yeah. I'm slightly mortified.
I separate the boys and ask Blue to please go home.  I can't send them both together, obviously. Blue objects at first, but finally agrees to go.

Well, neighbor! I hope you were up for a little excitement!  No that's not just your pain meds kicking in.  That's my real life crazy, following me to your house!

She invites Red in.  She tells him to calm down.  He prays with her.  She is touched by his gesture.  It was a beautiful moment actually.  After a totally, ludicrous one.

We make a quick exit.  I return across the street where Blue is waiting ...spatula still in hand.

He proceeds to tell me loudly how much of an idiot his brother is -and that was one of the nicer words he used.  Oh, this is before I can even make it through the front door.  Oh yeah.  He is yelling and swearing loud enough for all of the neighbors to hear in the front yard.

The only thing that finally shut him down was when I told him, the neighbors just might call the cops because he is disturbing the peace!

After things simmer down, I remain in the front yard to do a little raking, and weeding.  I only had 2 neighbors, stop their cars to ask, why I was breaking my back when I have 2 big teenage boys who live here, for free!

Oh neighbors have no idea.

Watching the Sunset after the drama
amethyst & reiki gemstones for protection from the crazy.
Believe it or not I'm at peace.

Monday, March 17, 2014

In Your Face Bully!

 Bullies don’t always go away just because they’ve been busted and are punished repeatedly for their behavior.  Unfortunately, a few weeks ago I wrote the post  "The World is Full of A**holes", which tells the story of a bully that Blue has been dealing with this year in high school. I told you all then that Blue is not afraid of the bully.  For that matter, there are not many people in the world that Blue is actually afraid of.  He has this fearless personality going on, which is ironic since he can be a very anxious person.  

So on this particular day this bully decided once again to screw with Blue.  Blue is not one for ignoring an asshole.  He is one who will give you a great big reaction when you push his buttons.  This makes him a great target for someone who is looking for a payoff for their asshattery. 

The kid decided to follow Blue out towards the busses, name calling and pushing him along the way.  Blue turns around and doesn’t hit the kid, instead he hawked up a great big loogie and spit in the kids face! Ouch! 

Sure enough, Blue comes home that afternoon and begins acting out, fighting with his brother.  In the process, his feelings about what happened during the school day come up.  He told me exactly what had happened with the bully.  

“I spit on him.” 

*Really? You went there? You? Mr. Germaphobe, spit your DNA and all of your germs on another person? Wow kid!  You’ve got balls! (I didn’t say the balls part, but I sure did think it!) 

I knew instantly, that although Blue’s retaliation may pay off in the form of the kid finally leaving him alone, his choice would probably come back to bite him.  If administration got wind of what Blue had done, he would surely be punished for it.  When I encouraged him to talk to his Social Skills teacher the next day about what happened, he declined.  He knew he was wrong, and would probably be in trouble. 

So, I am in California, enjoying a leisurely morning before I go to visit my father, when my phone rings.  It’s the high school on the caller i.d. Duh duh duh duh! Yep.  The shit hit the fan.  There was yet another incident with the bully and after further investigation, Blue’s transgression was reported. 

“…I can understand Blue’s frustration, but we have to send a message that next time he should go towards a teacher, instead of handling matters himself,” says the Assistant Principal. 

“Really, because he has reported these incidents several times in the past to teachers and nothing has stopped the child’s behavior.  In the heat of the moment, what would make him think that would make a difference this time? Quite frankly, I understand his frustration as well. That's why when he told me about it, and he told me about the same day it happened, I chose not to punish him for it."  

So the bully got a few days of in-school suspension, (sitting alone in a room with a teacher all day) while Blue got 2 days of lunch d-hall sitting in the AP’s office for 25 minutes.  Not a major punishment really, since Blue doesn’t eat in the cafeteria anyway.  He usually eats in a teachers classroom with a few other kids.

 Did this send a message to Blue? Perhaps.  Did it send a message to the a**hole bully? Who knows? 
This past week there were no further incidents.  

I spoke to Blue about perhaps transferring to a charter school specifically for math and science, where there would be more serious students like him and less bullies.  He investigated the possibility by looking at the web-site and Code of Student Conduct with his friend J., who is also on the spectrum.  When he got back to me, his answer was an emphatic, "No Mom! I'm not doing that!" Number one, he wants to have the same science teacher that he has now for AP Chemistry next year.  They have a great relationship.  She gets him since her boyfriend has Aspergers as well. 

Number 2 he said, "I would rather fight with the kids who are jerks, than go to a school where you have to where a uniform and they have so many rules, you may as well be in  prison. "

So there’s that.  

The lesson here for Blue's Mom ...this kid can take care of himself. Stop worrying so much.

p.s. Blue did have a couple of therapy sessions regarding bullying and the appropriate reaction to help deescalate the situation and not give a big reaction. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Prodigal Son

I don't write about this guy often.  I don't see him often.  But he is my son and he is celebrating his 26th Birthday! This is a note I wrote him for the occasion. 

Hi there!
Remember me?
The lady who raised you? 
I may not be the woman who gave birth to you, but I chose to be your mother.
I’m the woman who gave you your 5th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheeses after which, I vowed never to go back there, but of course, I did. 
I’m the lady who dried your tears when you cried at my wedding to your father because you were “hungry” or was it because you needed some of the attention? 
Maybe it was because you were gaining a wicked stepmother?  
I am the woman who kissed you and your teddy bear goodnight.  
I am the lady who hosted the sleepovers and playdates with your friends. 
I am the nurse who took care of you when you were sick, took you to your your doctor's appointments when you broke your arm and when your asthma was flaring.  
I attended those parent/teacher conferences, where the teachers all raved about what I fine young man I have raised.  
Yep. You were always a charmer, with a beautiful smile. 
I am the one who taxied you to your football practices…until you could drive yourself. 
I attended your games and talent shows.  
You remember those talent shows where you tried to sing and dance, but really, it was so you could charm the ladies? 
I'm that lady who watched you go through your first love and first heartbreak.
I’m the person who always went to battle for you when your father would just say, “No!” 
I’m the woman who gave you two younger brothers who look up to you.
Sadly, at this moment in your life, you don’t have very much time for them.  It’s unfortunate because they have autism, and difficulty with social relationships.  They are growing into young men who could really use a mentor.  Since your father was such a good one to you, I always thought you would be to them. Maybe, someday you will. 

On your 26th birthday, you are not at home, though we probably wouldn’t see you anyway.  
Instead you are off serving your country in the Army National Guard.  I pray that you are safe and well. 
I pray that when you come home, you will once again remember this lady who sacrificed to raise you to be a great man, like your father. 

I hope to live to see the day, when you not only live up to the man that your father is, but that you actually surpass him in success.  
By success, I don’t mean the riches of the world or material things. I mean becoming a man who is honorable, who lives to help others, who loves his future family, takes care of himself and even better care of them.  I can’t wait to see you become someone who your younger brothers can aspire to be. 

I’m waiting…I haven’t given up.