Friday, August 29, 2008

Do Tell....

Well ....

I think I was born Catholic in another life and flogged mercilessly for not telling the truth. If you are Catholic I mean no offence or disrespect. I think it can be a valuable thing to have a complete fear of lying or in any way fudging the truth. In my case, it seems to border on pathological. This can lead to some problems.

It drives my husband crazy for one. Any time we are shopping and something isn't right with the bill - I speak up. Usually to our detriment. Case in point - his new golf bag. A few years ago I bought him a golf bag for his birthday. It was supposed to be around $90. Not much but when you are counting every penny, it was huge. It rang up at $35. He is standing behind the cash where the CSR can't see him but he can see the total. He is frantically waving his arms at me, telling me to shut the heck up. I can't do it. I'm afraid that as I walk out of the store, some big hairy security guy will grab me and smack me down. So I say to the CSR, "You might want to check that". Turns out it was their error and we got the bag for the $35 but not before my husband hung his head and muttered to himself, "Here she goes again". I've gone back and paid for forgotten groceries and all kinds of silly things. I just can't stand the thought of ripping someone off even if it's some huge store that probably gives it to me up the butt everytime I shop there. I know someone somewhere will take the hit for my "deal" and that bothers me.

I probably tell my kids the truth too much as well. I explain things up the wazoo to them but do try to keep it appropriate. This drives my mother crazy. I explain to her that I don't want them to grow up thinking money just appears and the kind mortgage fairy lets us live here for free. I don't want them to think that Michael and I never argue or don't get angry. I want them to know why I am angry and that sometimes I feel sad too. What is the point of trying to raise healthy, well-adjusted children if they never see emotion or understand that parents are people too ?? Heck - that's how I became me and we don't want that for future generations.

I think my truth issues stem from my parents. They never told us anything. Nothing about money. Nothing about their feelings. Nothing about job changes. Nothing about nothing. We just took the fall out. My brother and I suspected for years that my dad was being less than truthful with his whereabouts on a regular basis and who he was spending this time with. We saw my parents growing apart and how they just quietly ignored it. The proverbial elephant in the room if you will. One day that elephant went on a damn crazy stampede and my family got torn apart. The elephant wanted to marry someone else and if my mother didn't mind, the elephant was leaving the zoo. Needless to say, my mother was caught completely off guard and was totally shattered. This was a completely understandable reaction and one that I loathe to experience. I also loathe to cause that reaction in someone else. As things progressed in my parents divorce, it came out that this particular elephant had been trying out new zookeepers for sometime. It also came out that the elephant had been stashing peanuts in various locations and had decided not to let my mother know. Deception upon lies upon deceipt upon total crap.

I let my father know in no uncertain terms that he was an ass of epic proportions. I was 17 and full of bitterness. He had lied. The person I was supposed to look up to and learn from had spent most of his married life lying like a cheap rug. This was a huge turning point for me although I didn't recognize the impact until years later. I would never cause the look on my mother's face to anyone. I would never devastate my children and lose their respect as he had done. I would never hide things and deceive people for my own selfish gains. Did my father have some redeeming qualities ? Yes. Do I care to list them at this time ? No.

I have spent my life trying to live a truthful existence. Not only to myself but to others. This does not always work out the way I intend. There are times where I have had to speak up when I shouldn't have as the anxiety and stress of living with what I perceive as lies just builds up to bursting. It plagues me relentlessly. I realize this sounds peculiar. I realize that as an adult I have the power and fortitude to hold back information and decide what needs to be said. My past appears to have had a stronger influence than I've realized on my ability to do this. If I feel like I've lied, I cannot rest until I put it right. I will worry at it like a dog with a bone. I am slowly overcoming this inability but sometimes my mouth will run away with me and before I know it, I'm back in the shithouse again.

What I've also come to realize is that I make far more of my truth issues than other people do. When I follow my gut and reveal information I anticipate a big problem. Usually it doesn't turn out that way or at least the other person doesn't let it appear so. I then worry about forgiveness and making sure the other person understands I meant well and truly had the best of intentions. It's a never ending cycle that probably requires medication. People still tend to share their feelings and situations. I don't appear to damage the friendship in a permanent way. I do worry that they feel they won't be able to trust me when that won't be the case. I am hopeful that they see I try to judge the best way possible for all concerned. Hope springs eternal....

I'm hopeful that by leading a truthful existence, my children will learn the same. I'm also hopeful that I am teaching them that there are times where white lies are ok. Full out whoppers inlcuding infidelity, stealing, etc. - not ok. But when Mommy asks - Do I look fat in this ? Then they have my permission to white lie. Heck, what can it hurt ? Sometimes the truth can set you free. Other times, a little white lie gets you through the day. My job is to make sure they know when to choose the right path.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Great - September .....again .....


The day has come when we have to face September again. I have one child ready and raring to go. Thomas, not so much. He seems to try to get excited because he sees that his sister is, I think. I try to pump him up about the technology that is coming and how much easier this year will be. Doesn't seem to be working so much yet. I'm hopeful.... that I don't have to be medicated myself this year..

So far he has actually done quite well. This is a child who has Asperger's, ADD, short term memory issues, fine motor integration problems, asthma, allergies and dyslexia. Doesn't get any better than that in this gene pool. He is pleasant, friendly, loving, caring, witty, creative, funny, cute, daring, brave, empathetic and many other things. So I guess the two go hand in hand. I couldn't have him the way he is without having the "issues" that go with him. While they don't define who he is or what he can do, they do make up parts of his personality. And while he drives me two types of crazy, I love his personality. He is quirky. He is interesting. He worries me.

I worry that he won't make friends this year. I worry that he won't care that he doesn't have friends. I worry that he will care he doesn't have friends. I am starting to worry about his being able to get a decent job. Or hold any job at all.

So this September I will try to embrace his personality. I will try to embrace his learning issues. I will try to remember to hold off putting on the shit kickers until absolutely necessary. I will try to remember to be patient and polite with the school board.

Great. It's September. Again. Woohoo....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Say it with me now ... preventable !


My son has distinct issues with listening. He cannot retain things for long periods of time if they are instructions. Or most things for that matter. He can remember things to do with TV shows or movies or books. He can remember things that have to do with him growing up, etc. However - day to day instructions just seem to baffle him. Hence our story for today.

I preface this by either illuminating or reminding our readers that Thomas' latest adventure included lighting a match in the boy's bathroom at school. This ties in to our word for tonight - preventable.

Michael and I are sitting on the couch TV surfing. Loads of mindless for the masses reality TV that quite frankly makes me ill. Who gives a flying crap about Kim Kardashian anyway ? She looks like a brainless idiot who cannot fathom that the world does not owe her squat. Or Dina Lohan who is the world's worst mother next to Mommy Dearest. But I digress ....

As we start to head for bed it's now after 10pm and this little voice calls down the stairs - Mommmmmmm. Quite rudely I say "What ?!". Please bear in mind I've had a long day. The little voice says - "You're going to be mad aren't you ?" At this point I'm already annoyed so I say "yes." I then discover that my son has taken his lovely putty which has been given to him by the occupational therapist and has somehow got it in his hair.

I preface this by saying I have repeatedly asked Thomas not to keep the putty in his room. I have repeatedly removed the putty and put it downstairs. And I have repeatedly found it back in his room. Now we go back to the whole instruction thing which we've already covered.

So I see his rather large clump of silver shiny goo firmly ensconced in my child's georgous auburn hair and I say, "idiot". No pretty language. No feel better language. Just "idiot". I swear. Idiot, idiot, idiot. So we head to the bathroom and under brighter lights I see that Wile E. Coyote has got this stuff matted in his hair and at this point it's not coming out quietly. So I decide to go to town on the hair. We comb and comb and comb. Putty is coming out but so is hair. Not a lot but enough that the eyes start to water and the boy starts to beg for Daddy's brilliant suggestion of shaving his head. To this I say no. To this I start to sing a little song which goes to the tune of It's a Small World. Sing it with me won't you ??

It's a world of laughter, a world of tears
It's a world of hope and a world of fears
There's so much that we share
That it's time we aware
To leave the putty downstairs

Then we go to the chorus. Quite original I think:

Leave the putty downstairs
Leave the putty downstairs
Leave the putty downstairs
Or it will get in your hair.

My son at this point is not finding this amusing. His head hurts. He is tired. And his mother is making unholy fun of him for getting putty in his hair. At this point I take further pleasure in using this moment to define Preventable. Our word for the day. I say to my son, "how many times have I told you to leave the putty downstairs ?" He replies through tears and snuffles - "About five thousand". "Close" I say. "This, my son, is a perfect example of preventable". I go on to illustrate that he and I both could have done without this moment in our lives and I ask him again what Preventable means. He forgets. I illustrate again how the fire at school was Preventable. I ask him again what Preventable means. He remembers. As we go to bed, "What is our word for tonight Thomas ?" "PREVENTABLE Mom - I get it !"

Sometimes my son has to learn things the hard way. I did too. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be super sweet and smothering when he pulls a bone headed move because he won't remember the lesson in all of it. Sometimes it pays to sing a little song about the word of the day: Preventable. Sing it with me won't you ? I'm just hoping my next song won't have the word Contraception in it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Why Am I Such An Idiot ?


I'm sure we've all had those less than stellar moments in our parenting careers where we wonder why the CAS doesn't wake up and pay a visit. I've had several. Not for hitting my kids. Not for depriving them of anything. Not for anything "illegal" going on in the house. Just one of those bone headed, really stupid, I shouldn't have done that moments where you wonder why you didn't make the husband wear a condom just that one time so you wouldn't have to be having this moment at all.

My son is remarkably immature for his age. He is 10 going on 7 on a good day. Other days he surprises me and shows he is getting closer to his age. Those days are few. This frightens me, frustrates me, makes me a little nutty. After all it is all about me anyway. Today was a 7 year old day but more for me than him.

He was working on the computer. He has taken to using the old education programs I got a couple of years ago which are quite young for him but there you have it. Probably a grade 2 level or so. He likes that he gets a gold star which his mother was not going to earn with her contribution to this story.

So he is minding his own business playing this game. He gets frustrated, starts pounding the bench he is sitting on and saying "I can't do this !!". Now any sane mother would have said, "There, there.... there, there. Let me make it better". Thomas' mother chose to get angry, yell at him and belittle him. Stellar moment. I see that he is rushing, I see that he is not paying attention, I see that he is struggling - and I choose to be an ass. Of epic proportions. No "there, there". No "let's work together". I'm all about the yelling about how he should slow down, pay attention and not be an idiot. Stellar. Totally stellar. As soon as it pops out, he has tears, I've frightened him and we are getting no where. I am the biggest jerk to ever walk the planet at this point. But do I stop yelling ? Oh no. I keep going. SLOW DOWN THOMAS. WATCH WHAT YOU ARE DOING THOMAS. WHY AREN'T YOU READING IT PROPERLY ???? More stellar moments. More self-esteem building from mom. NOT.

Finally I pull my head out of my ginormous butt and sit down. I try to placate him by telling him how I am frustrated because I know he is not an idiot and if he'd slow down, he'd be able to do this. What good is that going to do ? Is he going to remember in the long run that I don't think he's an idiot after I've calmed down ? No. He is going to remember his big moron of a mother who is supposed to love him and build him up, yelling like a crazy woman and calling him an idiot. I have now confirmed that he is an idiot and repeated the same destructive history my parents created with me. Yes, I am going to go there and pull out the "it's my parents fault" card. Sort of.

I accept what I did. I realize that I am an unholy moron for having done it. But that is what I grew up with. Instead of patient encouragement, I got yelled at. Instead of compliments on what I could do, I was picked on for what I didn't do. Instead of Great Job ! I got why can't you finish anything ? I have tried my best to fix and change most of what I don't agree with in how my parents raised me. I spend more time with my kids. We do interesting things together. I am silly with them. I explain more. I say I am sorry more. However - the big one I am having trouble with is the yelling and name calling. Not horrible names. Not swear word names. But names none the less - goof, turkey, twit, noodle, nooge, weirdo, etc. All specifically designed to demean and inflict damage. And hear I go again.

It has taken me years to learn to believe in myself. It has taken me years to discover that some of the things I do are special. That not everyone can read like I read. Not everyone can bake or cake decorate or garden or cook or create whatever like I can. I always thought I was average. That nothing I did was extraordinary. My parents never thought so. I thought I would be a better parent that way. I am not as encouraging as I'd hoped I'd be. I'm not as patient as I'd hoped I'd be. I'm inflicting more damage than I thought I would and am very disappointed by that.

I called my son an idiot today. I struck him where it would hurt the most. Right in his heart. What kind of a mother does that ? What kind of a mother attacks her child in such a low and cutting manner ? I'm sure mother's do worse but I always thought I'd be better than that. This is one area where I'd hoped I'd be above average. Turns out it isn't my son who is the idiot. It's his mother.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Worth the Fight


Doesn't that sound like an imposing title ? Worth the Fight ! Is she going to get her butt kicking boots on again and tirade against those who don't help her son ? No.

This is something that I needed to explain to my son one day. A few months back, he asked a question that I've since forgotten which prompted me to reply, "Because you are worth it." I explained to him that I will fight his whole life to get him what he needs. As my mother has proven time and again, you never stop caring for your kids. My children will be no exception. My son requires a little more effort but I fight for my daughter as well. She is currently being bullied by a "queen bee" who has admitted that she finds Vanessa threatening. She says she is jealous of what my daughter can do. GOOD ! My daughter has a lot to be proud of and she shouldn't be made to feel bad about it. We ended up having a long talk about jealousy and being true to yourself. I looked her in the eye and said, " I believe in you and I will always believe in you. You are smart, funny, loving and cute and you have no reason not to believe in yourself." She seemed to get it and appreciate that my sentiments came from the heart. Having said that, I would like to take little miss Queen Bee and knock her chicklets in.

Back to my boy.

My son will be getting approved shortly for technological help in the classroom. He will be receiving a laptop, scanner, printer and four different softwares so that he can achieve his potential in school. It has taken me three years to get this but it will be worth the fight. My son is smart. My son is creative. My son loves to read. He does not like to learn in the classroom. He cannot retain what is being said to him as his memory is so poor. He cannot follow directions well as his ADD takes him to places far beyond the walls of his classroom. He needs this help and I have great hope for it. He will now be able to show them what he is capable of. All along the school has said, we know he can do more - thank God they hadn't completely written him off ! There will be a special place by the hobs of hell if that technology does not come through and God alone will not be able to protect those who deny my son what he needs. The shit kickers will come out.

But let's be positive. I am going to be cautiously optomisitic that the school board will fulfill it's obligation to help my son and implement the recommendations of the psychologist. I am going to remain hopeful that the special resource team will continue to get the support they need in order to continue helping my son. I am going to remain certain that if any of this falls apart and hinders my son's education, that not only will they be aware that he is worth the fight but they will feel the steely toe of my shit kickers right where it counts.

My children will always be worth the fight and I hope that my actions on their behalf prove this to them. I hope they grow up confident knowing that I will back them up and be there for them always and forever. I think I am succeeding as evidenced by this little tale - One day we were discussing the importance of stranger safety. I was drilling in to their heads that not all strangers are friendly and some might try to take them from me. My son piped up and said, "I don't worry about that Mom. You'd find me." Then my daughter piped up and said, "Yeah - and then she'd kill them". Out of the mouths of babes....

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

He wants to belong


Christmas is over with much ado. My boy enjoyed himself as he always does. He has believed in magic for as long as I can remember and I value his imagination even more at these times. His belief is guileless which I truly enjoy. His favorite present ? His anatomy book from my brother. All other present opening stopped at that point. He was so engrossed in the book he didn't even realize he had more presents to open. My girl ? She tore through them with abandon. She refers to Santa and I think she is trying to still believe but it appears to be becoming a challenge. I've told her that I believe in Santa with a true heart and I do. I believe in the spirit of giving. I believe in looking out for others. I believe in the happiness I see on my children's face Christmas morning. I thoroughly enjoy that. We weren't able to give as much as I'd have liked to Charity this year. I did donate to the food bank and to the Salvation Army for the teachers but we didn't do toys this year. Next year I will make sure.
During all this hullabaloo, Thomas and I had a conversation that showed me my boy is changing and we are heading in to a new time in his life. He wants to join a "club" at school and they won't let him. This has never seemed to bother him before. He seemed to be content to just do his own thing. Now it seems to be an issue. Not large. Not insurmountable but definitely signifying change. I'm not sure what this "club" is about but it involves boys and his friend Jeffrey is campaining to have him included. God love Jeffrey. I'm not sure where this is heading or what I can do to help him. This will be an adventure for both of us as he discovers that he is different from other kids and I hold back from strangling the kids who make him realize this.
My boy is growing in many ways. I hope he never loses the wonder of Santa. I know I haven't. But I hope he is able to change and grow in ways that allow him to fit in better at school. If it doesn't bother him, I am going to try to not let it bother me. Maybe we both need to grow and change during this time. Maybe next year growth and change will be on my list for the jolly man to bring. Chocolate just makes my butt bigger and gives me migraines anyway...
The best of 2008 to all.