Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring Break - Trying to Take it Easy

The kids are out of school this week for Spring Break, hence my lack of blogging. It's not that we've been busy, but rather, we've been relaxing and taking it easy so there's not much to report.

Sons #2 and #3 have been skateboarding with kids on the street. Son #3, who just turned six, is surprisingly good. He's not doing stunts, thank goodness, but he can keep up with the rest of them.

Son #1 has been spending a lot of time reading and doing crossword puzzles, when he wasn't entertaining his guest. (His best friend spend Tuesday and Wednesday nights.)

I've been making more of my beaded jewelry - I'm seriously running low on supplies, though. Staying up late, sleeping as late as the kids will allow. It's been good.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Twas the Night of Good Friday....

...and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. But it's only 9:30, how can this be? Where are the kids, the noise, and the screams and the shrieks?

Okay, I feel like I'm channeling Dr. Seuss so I'll stop now. Dear Hubby is running a local race tomorrow with his high school buddy (an annual tradition) so he's spending the night at his sister's house. She lives closer to the race venue. Son #1 went to bed at 9:00 - he's a nightowl, so I know it's killing him, but this is his penance for staying up too late last night. He and Dear Hubby were watching "Passion of the Christ" on DVD and I knew Dear Hubby would fall asleep (an affliction that strikes when: 1) the TV is on, and 2) he's horizontal). I gave Son #1 strict instructions to turn off the DVD player and go to bed when the movie ended. Well, I know it's not a 6-hour film. At 5:30 a.m., Son #1 wakes Dear Hubby whose snoozing on the sofa to let him know that he (Son #1 is going to bed). Thanks for sharing. Five-thirty a.m., people! So tonight, no staying up late with Mom watching TV.

Son #2 and #3 went to be by 9:00 because they played hard, and they lack Son #1's stamina. It's deathly quiet in the house now. The only sound is the beagle snoring in the other room and DJ Jen's music from her blog, which I have opened in another web window.

May the peace and love of the Easter season be with you and yours!

Monday, March 17, 2008

What a Week! - Part Two

You've heard about Son #1's travails in my last post. This post is about Son #2. He's a fun, funny, very sociable guy. He needs constant company (in contrast to his older brother). Earlier this week, he was a little bummed that the kid on our street that he usually plays with after school (I'll call him "Will" - not his real name) decided to go to another kid's house in the neighborhood. Will invited Son #2 along, but he declined.

Son #2 was a little mopey and when I asked him why he didn't go with Will, he said that the kid Will was going to play with is "not a good role model" (Son #2's words). I asked him to elaborate and he explained that this other kid uses bad language a lot on the bus and threatens to beat up other people. Wow. Unfortunately, this isn't terribly unusual behavior for the age group (10-11 year old boys), but I was really impressed that Son #2 took a stand, especially since it meant he didn't have anyone else to hang with that afternoon. I was very proud of him.

Fast forward to yesterday. I receive a phone call from the mother of one of Son #2's former friends. I'll call him "Greg" (again, not his real name). They met at the beginning of the school year when Greg moved here from another state. Son #2 was invited to Greg's house once, they had a fine time, but some weeks later, Son #2 told me that he and Greg weren't friends anymore because Greg called Son #2 and his other friend, Jack (another alias) "a bad name." Son #2 didn't know what the name meant, but Jack said it wasn't good, and by the way, Mom, what's a pervert? Lovely discussion we had, that's a lot Greg (I'm being snarky). We discussed it and decided it might be best to steer clear of Greg until he apologizes or at the very least, stops the name calling.

Greg's mom calls to tell me that Greg was very upset when she picked him up after school. Apparently Greg's friends are starting to 'fall away,' he's being tripped at school, that Son #2 hit him with a ball earlier that day, etc. Needless to say, I'm appalled but I also know there are two sides to every story so I tell her I'll talk with Son #2 and call her back.

Son #2 is no angel, but he's not a bully. He has on occasion gotten frustrated at another kid and called them a name (usually something pretty tame, but still unacceptable and I make sure he's reminded of it). But never has he physically lashed out at anyone. He has a lot of friends, but he's not the type to use them against one another. In fact, he's generally the peacemaker and doesn't choose sides when his other friends have an argument. If someone behaves badly toward someone else, it's usually Son #1 who tells them they're acting uncool.

Still, I ask Son #2 about it. He insists he's been steering clear of Greg. He admits to calling Greg a couple of names about a month ago when Greg called him "gay." Son #2 fired back with "bully" and one other that he conveniently forgot (uh huh. sure.). We talk again how name-calling is unacceptable and to knock it off. He insists that's been his only involvement with Greg.

I continue my interrogation (unlike Son #1, who'll tattle on himself almost immediately, serious conversations with Son #2 are like fine wines - they must be allowed to age and ferment).

Me: Did you physically touch Greg with any part of your body or any object?

Him: No, ma'am.

Me: Did you ever turn any other kids away from Greg? Suggest they shouldn't hang out with him?

Him: No, a lot of people stopped hanging out with him because he calls them names too.

Me: You didn't suggest that?

Him: No.

Me: Have you ever seen anyone push or hit Greg?

Him: Yes, _____ knocked him down last week.

Me: Did you ever throw a ball at him or even to him, if he seemed like he was joining your game?

Him: No, he doesn't join our games. He hangs out with _____ & ______. Another kid, _____, threw a football at him today.

Me: How do you get along with Greg's friends?

Him: Fine. We don't hang out because I steer clear of Greg, but when he's not around, we say "hey."

And so it goes. He sits next to me as I call Greg's mom. I mentioned again why Son #2 no longer hangs out with Greg (which she conveniently doesn't address). I told her Son #2's version of events. She responds with, "So he's saying he did nothing today? That Greg is making all this up? It's clear that you're absolutely going to believe your son..." I cut her off with: "Excuse me, but isn't that exactly what you're doing?"

I reiterate that Son #2 said he did not trip or hit Greg with a ball. I acknowledge that Son #2 isn't an angel and that he admitted to calling Greg names when Greg called him names. I reminded her that Greg called Son #2 a pervert months ago. I also tell her that I do believe Greg is being bullied, based on what Son #2 told me. But he is not bullied by Son #2. I'd love to work with her to sort this out, but I want specifics. I asked her to please ask Greg which ball hit him and did he actually see Son #2 throw it. In other words, was it the green soccer ball Son #2 was playing with or was it the football that Son #2 saw another kid throw at Greg?

While I'm holding on, I can hear her asking him in the background. I can't hear all of Greg's response but I did hear him say the name of the kid who threw the football. His mom asks another question, and Greg replies, "that was (football thrower), too." She gets back on the phone with a much better demeanor: "I'm sorry. I apparently misunderstood." I resisted the temptation to say, You bet your ____ you did! We put both boys on the phone and they apologize.

Prior to my calling her back, I spoke with Son #2 about whether it might be possible to salvage the friendship. He didn't know. They didn't know each other long when it soured and there's been a lot of headaches since. Fair enough. However, he did agree that they could apologize, declare a truce and be cordial. Perhaps Son #2 could even say "hi" and mention to other friends that Greg apologized for the name-calling, that Son #2 thought that took guts and that everyone deserves a second chance. Whether that influences anyone else to follow suit, I don't know.

What I think happened is that Greg was upset. He was telling his mom about his day, how people knock him down, call him names (hello pot, meet kettle), how people (insert numerous names, including Son #2's) aren't hanging around him anymore. I think she may have glommed on to Son #2's name and projected the rest. Still it bugs me that she not once addressed the fact that her kid slings around some pretty nasty names. Until she acknowledges his role in all this, and addressed it, I can't see this kid's days getting much brighter.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What a Week! - Part One

No sooner than I post my most recent blog about Son #1's confidence and security than all hell breaks loose - for him and others.

First off, why is it that Son #3 -- who did NOT have any altercations this week -- ends up with a black eye? It was an accident in his kindergarten class, but ironic nonetheless, considering....

Son #1 comes home from school Tuesday. It was a gorgeous day - sunny, breezy, in the low 70's, no humidity. Just beautiful. But I can see him as he's walking home from his bus stop a block and a half away. Something just isn't right, you know what I mean? I can tell by his body language. No spring in his step. No wave and "Hi, Mom!" from half a block away. Shoulders kind of slumped. As he draws nearer, I ask, "how was your day?" "It was good and bad," he says. I ask how his standardized testing went. He said that was fine. I asked about the "bad" part. (Grab yourself a cup of coffee - this may take awhile) Here goes:

After a morning of state-wide standardized testing in the morning, Son #1 returns to homeroom, which is in the gym. There's a second 7th grade homeroom class in the gym. Son #1 has ADHD and likes to pace. His homeroom teacher doesn't mind if Son #1 paces the perimeter of the gym as long as he's not disturbing anyone. Burning off nervous energy, so to speak.

Son #1 walks around the gym. A girl, I'll call her E., stops him on two occasions and asks for "a hug." Son #1 is appalled. He's a young 12.5 and is not yet interested in girls as a group (he's had minor crushes on specific girls in the past, but as a whole, he still finds girls "weird" - sorry moms of girls). Also, he's not a touchy-feely kid. Heck, he barely hugs me. Once in a while, he'll sneak up for the 2-second body slam, but by the time I realize what he's doing, he's gone! So a hug? I don't think so! He said no.

He continued his trek across the gym and she asked again for a hug, he said no again. Third time was not the charm. She didn't ask. She attempted to hug him, and Son #1 sort of snarled out of frustrastion, squirmed away and took off. She tells her girlfriends, that rather than snarling, Son #1 bit her, which is untrue.

Son #1 was mortified and immediately reported the situation to his homeroom teacher (also his gym coach). Teacher spoke to E.'s teacher. No big deal, apparently (Q. Why didn't E. tell her teacher that she was bitten? A. She wasn't bitten!). Son #1's teacher said to let him know if there are further problems. Seems like a non-issue, right?

You would think. However, by the end of the day, folks were asking Son #1, "Why did you bite E.?" and worse - getting within 10 inches of his face on the bus and asking whether Son #1 was going to bite them? Personally, I think he would've been justified to do just that, but he exercised great restraint.

My regular readers know that Son #1 is speech impaired, small for his age, has ADHD, formerly suffered from seizures, is very eccentric and is, in general, very confident in who God created him to be. Tuesday, however, was a day of doubt for him. He works hard to be cordial to others, even if he sometimes lacks the usual social graces. He likes to keep to himself and doesn't like unwanted attention. He especially doesn't like anyone invading his personal space. Yikes.

Had it just been the incident between Son #1 and E. (the hug), I would probably have not been perturbed because I believe the homeroom teachers handled it with a warning. But since other kids - at least a dozen - were bugging Son #1 about it, it was clearly getting out of hand. Rather than getting all "mama bear" about it (tough to resist), I let Dear Hubby handle it. He called the assistant principal (who handles disciplinary measures) and tells him that:

1) our son was the victim of "unwanted physical contact" (a huge no-no here)
2) he was being "slandered" by Emily's lies
3) he was being harassed and "bullied" by other kids on the bus because or Emily's lies

Just enough to make poor Mr. Asst. Principal want to lose his breakfast. Dear Hubby told him politely that he looked forward to hearing back from Asst. Principal by the end of the day how he planned to address the issue. (Dear Hubby rocks! I could've done this, but by junior high, I think administrators start to roll their eyes when Mom calls. I should point out that instead of playing "bad cop", Dear Hubby is actually "ex-cop".)

Later that afternoon, Mr. Asst. Principal called Son #1 to his office to hear his version of events (Rule #1: it pays to be pro-active. Dime yourself out, if necessary.). He calls E. to his office and she fortunately realizes this could be serious business. She admits that Son #1 was telling the truth and that he did NOT bite her. She vows to tell as many people as possible in her social circle that there was a misunderstanding, that she was joking, whatever, but that Son #1 was innocent.

By that afternoon's busride, all seems to be well. Whether it's because E. lived up to her word or because they don't want their heinies hauled into the office, I don't know - or care. I'm satisfied with the way Mr. Asst. Principal handled it (even if E. did not have to apologize publicly, as Dear Hubby suggested. Can you hear that loud speaking announcement? "Hi. This is E. I just want to say that Son #1 did *not* bite me. I repeat, did not...")

I don't know whether E. made good on her promise, but we've instructed Son #1 to issue the standard answer next time he's asked about it:

"Clearly there's been a misunderstanding. I did NOT bit Emily, and I'm sure she'll tell you so if you ask her directly. If she tells you otherwise, let me know, but we've cleared it up and all's good."

Today's bus ride was much better indeed.

Next up: Son #2....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Still Partying - and My New Look

Some people buy a new outfit to wear to a party. However, since this is a blog party, I decided to get a new template and update my photo. I know what you're thinking: I'm a party animal!

Again, I must be a technological dolt because I cannot for the life of me make the Ultimate Blog Party picture 'clickable.' Here's the link:

I've had a few guest stop by my humble blog. I've been reciprocating by visiting theirs. As few I'll probably visit again. It's been fun. A bit of work, though. I actually don't mind that my blog doesn't have an awful lot of traffic. I also like that my 'must visit' list of blogs is relatively small. I'll always make room for a really great blog, and sometimes I have to let go of other blogs (none recently, though). But I digress....

So, how do you like the new look? Is it too blue? I looked at a pink template, but to be truthful, I'm not a pink kinda gal. Nothing against pink. I like the color just fine. It just that as a mom of three boys, the past 13 years of my life have been filled with blue, blue and blue.

I also updated the photo. It's not the greatest shot because:
  1. no one was home to help me so I took it myself - of myself - not as easy as it sounds
  2. my digital camera adds 10 pounds
  3. my digital camera adds 10 years

Anyway, this was my first blog remodel since I began in 2005.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes - Part Deux

Sons #1 and #2 attended Boy Scout Merit Badge classes on Saturday. Son #1, who is speech impaired, selected Public Speaking. Now, I personally would have avoided it like the plague and I'm not speech impaired. But Son #1 was never one to shy away from a challenge.

As I was organizing his papers (I have to let our local troop know which badges he earned), I came across the note card that instructor handed out. One exercise was to introduce yourself and use three adjectives to describe you. Simple enough.

Here's - in part - what he wrote:

"I am intelligent, small and fidgety. I know a lot of things by reading books.
I don't have a clue why I'm small. My ADHD causes me to fidget..."

He is, of course, correct on all three accounts. His self-confidence never seems to amaze me. He's certainly faced his fair share of challenges (developmental delays, speech & language impairment, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, seizures among them). Yet he is who he is. And very accepting of himself.

He turns 13 in June. Looking back, I was nowhere near that self-assured at that age. He is proof positive that when God gives you challenges, He also grants you an abundance of graces to deal with them. We just have to tune into it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Ultimate Blog Party

  • Welcome, Visitors, to my humble little blog. My readers are very elite (read: a small, but fun, loyal, insightful bunch). My profile pretty much sums it up. I'm married, a stay-home mom of 3 boys. I'm an adult with ADHD and it shows in my blog posts. I do not 'have it all together' although I try like the dickens! My hobbies include jewelry making, reading, knitting (although I'm lousy at it), gardening (not much better at that), and of course blogging. My blog is a continual work-in-progress, but I hope you'll stop by from time to time and say hello.

  • I'll keep this post brief because I'm heading back to the 5 Minutes for Mom to check out some other blogs.

  • (For some reason blogger is not recognizing my paragraph breaks, so I bulleted it for spacing. Sigh. I'm number 453 on the Ultimate Blog Party.)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's been one of those weeks.

I wish I could say I've been so busy doing exciting, glamorous things that I haven't had the chance to blog. No such luck. I have a bunch of projects started, but I haven't managed to complete a single one. I'm also reading three different books, again, I haven't completed a single one.

My attention span is just all over the place (and usually not on the task I'm attempting to do at that very moment).

A brief recap: My birthday was last week. I came out of denial long enough to enjoy presents and a barbecue at my father-in-law's house. My big gift from Dear Hubby and the boys was a bicycle. I haven't ridden one since before Son #1 was born! That at least gets me out of the house occasionally (well, that and shopping).

I'm trying to finish reading my Gardening in Louisiana book so I can develop a real plan. It's a handy book that gives you a month-by-month breakdown of what I should be doing when. Of course, I decided that I want to replace my garden lights and that should be done before I even start planning (and using all the gardening goodies that was in the auction basket I won).

A friend and I also took a knitting class at Michael's Craft Store. It was fun. We learned to "cast on," "knit," and "purl." Unfortunately we ran out of time so we never quite learned how to end a project ("cast off") - hence my second book, The Idiot's Guide to Knitting. I'm midway through my first project. A bookmark for Son #1. (Did I mention it was a beginner's class?)

My long time readers (okay, reader) may know that I also make beaded jewelry. (Click here for a previous post, including photos.) I'm trying to learn how to take good digital photos that show true color so I can perhaps list some pieces on (a site for handmade items.) Besides the photos, I've opened a separate bank account so I can sell online and accept PayPal. I got the idea from Jen (blog title: The Wilson Six). She has an Etsy shop with really cute items. (Shameless plug alert! Here's a link to her Etsy shop.) She's been a great help answering my questions.

That's really all I've been up to. Trying to get organized. Hopefully, I'll have something more interesting to report later.