Monthly Archives: October 2012

bits of dialogue….

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I came upon a group of parents, huddling together to ward off the cold.  They were, like myself, anxiously awaiting the start of the neighborhood Halloween parade, so we could go on about our day.  I jokingly started by talking about the boy’s inability to remember who was on his quiz bowl team.  “My daughter Katie is on that team.  She told me if it weren’t for the boy they would have had their butts handed to them.” She said.  Another parent added, “Yeah, my daughter is on the team too. She said between your boy and Marvin, they answered all the questions.”  “Your telling me the boy’s arch nemesis is a team-mate of his?” I asked looking quite surprised.  With that, the women started laughing.  “Marvin is his what?”  I laughed too, but reiterated, “Yes his arch nemesis.  They mutually dislike one another–like oil and water; always have.  I’ve requested for years to not have them in the same class together to avoid problems”.  “Well Marsha, perhaps they’ve put aside their differences for the quiz bowl…because together, they are carrying the team”. Thinking about it for a moment I shook my head ‘no’ and said, “More likely they have the girls separating them…”

Later at home I asked the boy, “Hey I heard today that Marvin is on your quiz bowl team.”  “Oh yeah” he replied nonplussed.  “So you two are getting along?” I asked.  “No.  We’ve decided to mutually ignore one another.  Plus the girls on the team sit between us.”  “Well the girls’ parents told me if it weren’t for your trivia minded brain, your team would have lost the quiz bowl game.  How does that make you feel?”  I knew I was pushing, but I wanted him to hear the accolades by his fellow classmates.  He shrugged his shoulders and then added, “Eh”.

Mr. Minimal strikes again!

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there are some days….

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We all have days we wish we could start over or even miss entirely.   A lot of people would put  (any/all) Monday into that category.  For me, Monday’s aren’t that bad because I get to spend a few hours with my friend Charlotte.  She’s a hoot, who may not remember much, but boy does she know how to zing you in an attempt to get a reaction out of you.

Yesterday when I picked her up, she looked surprised.  “What are you doing here?”  “You have a hair appointment every Monday…are you ready?”  “No, I have a dentist appointment.  I’m waiting for my daughter to pick me up.”  “Well, your daughter wouldn’t schedule a dentist appointment on your ‘hair and manicure’ day.  “Do you have my purse?”  “Yes and your coat, it’s cold outside…”   While we drove down the road she asked again, “Are we going to the dentist?”  ‘No darlin’ we’re getting your hair done.”  I replied.  “But I got myself all psyched up to see the dentist”.  “Well look, the hair appointment is less invasive…so let’s just go with it…” I suggested.  She was quiet for a moment before she asked, “Are you sure I don’t have a dentist appointment? ”

I smiled.  When she gets fixed on things, sometimes their is no dissuading her.  “How about we call your daughter right now so she can tell you one way of another…” I offered.  Quietly she sighed and then said, “No, you’re probably right…”  Laughing I said, “What?  Do my ears deceive me? Did you just say I was right..???”  Before a beat could pass she replied, “No, you misunderstood….I said probably.”

After the hair appointment, we sat together at Bob Evans for lunch.  She asked me several times, as per usual if I remembered to bring her purse (which my reply was yes darlin’ it’s next to you on the chair).  By the time we were finished eating, we were closing in on 2 pm.  “Boy this place looks deserted” she exclaimed.  “Well it’s late in the day…” I replied. Looking around, drinking her tea, she attempted to make small talk…”This place is cold, they should have turned up the heat”.  “Well, that wind outside isn’t making things easier.  Besides who knew it was going to get so cold so fast…?” I replied in kind.  “You’re right.” She said.

“Stop the presses!!” I smiled back to her.   “Did you just hear yourself?  You said I was right!!  Someone quick mark the calendar!!  Charlotte said I was right about something!!”  She smiled like she’d been caught in a trap before finally replying.  “Well, you know I am prone to confusion….”

Yep, Monday’s make me smile.

highlights….

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the shy poodle skirt doll

Yesterday marked the beginning of Halloween week with the annual Halloween parade which marches down my street.   The doll, dressed in her poodle skirt dress and sweater kept trying to get me to “spoof” up her image.  “Doll, I’m apologizing for the umpteenth time for being your mother” I told her while attempting (and failing) to curl her hair.  “It’s alright mom, maybe I’ll just put it in a pony tail”.  Whew! Sounded good to me! Feeling like I was left off the hook, she turned and said, “Okay, so what about make-up?”  Curses, foiled again.  “Doll, again….I can’t help you there.  Besides, you look gorgeous without the paint”.  “I know Mom, but it his Halloween…”

I however won out, simply because I don’t have much make-up to share.

The boy stood on the side of the road, happily catching candy thrown by the various floats, while the doll walked within the parade.  Evidently, I was in charge of bringing the doll a bag so she could jump out of the parade and collect some candy as well, but I forgot.   When she spotted me empty-handed, she lambasted me for not having the bag.  In an effort to smooth things over, I ordered the boy to share his loot with his sister.  Neither child was particularly happy with me.

the Canuck for Halloween? Nope the Canuck for life.

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“Mom, I love your gray hair” the doll informed me.  Looking back at her through the bathroom mirror, I smiled and replied, “Jeeze, thanks a lot” with a sarcastic ring.  “No Mom, I mean look,  the gray is perfectly mixed in with what’s left of your red  giving you like natural highlights”.  “Ah, I see what you’re saying…” I said with a smile, before I added, “Why are you trying to flatter me?  Do you want something?”  To which came her reply, “Jeeze Mom, you’re so critical.  Can’t a girl say something nice about her Mom?”

Apparently not…

a moment of reflection….

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Yesterday while I worked a pizza lunch at our school, I had the opportunity to talk with another mom, who has a student in the boy’s class.  As we talked, I came to realize her son was one of the boys who got into trouble over the pool party fiasco at the beginning of the year.

Me: Oh, I know who Brian is…

Mom:  Yeah, the only trouble my boy has had with your son was at the beginning of the school year.

I felt bad.  Her son was a new student just trying to fit in.  When we left the pool party that night, he was the only kid who said goodnight to the boy-wishing him well.

Me: Yeah, I’m not sure how your son’s name got mixed up with the others, he was nice and said goodnight to the boy.

Mom: He did say goodnight and he felt bad about what happened.  Then I explained to him, your son is different. Once I discovered your son is AUTISTIC  I explained to Brian that he reacts differently to things.

Different. Autistic.  UGH!

I wanted to argue with her; try to explain our position.  In the end I showed her the picture of the boy with the black eye; taken immediately upon my arrival at the party.  Right or wrong I felt I had to justify my position to protect my son.  Not because he’s autistic; not because he’s different.  Rather because it was/is the right thing to do.

Kids need to take responsibility and be held accountable for their actions, regardless if they are different, normal, below average, above average, geniuses, gay, straight, short, tall, fat, thin, etc… My kids’ included.

Why is this such a hard concept?

Imagine what could be achieved if we all got it!

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I’ve had various conversations with parents about a blog I wrote that kind of went viral (for me) (https://marsha8of9.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/what-is-the-age-of-responsibility/).  Some were sympathetic, others wanted more information on Asperger’s and how long the boy had been bullied.  Another apologized for all the bad things we’ve gone through but then questioned why I didn’t have empathy for the other boys involved.  “You don’t know what’s going on in their lives that resulted in them taking out their aggression on your son…”  My response was, “No I don’t.  But that responsibility lies within themselves and their parents.  My responsibility is to my son.”  

 

 

 

the quiz bowl athlete….

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The boy had his first quiz bowl meet this past Tuesday.  As he was leaving for school, he yelled, “Hey Mama, wish me luck!!”  Having only slept about 4 hours the night before, I was confused by why he wanted me to wish him luck.  “Why?” I shouted back.  “Today’s our first quiz bowl meet!!”  ‘Duh, way to go mom, forget the big stuff in your kid’s life, I thought’.  “Hey, Good luck baby!!  Knock ’em dead!” I shouted back.  He stopped for a moment and looked back across the street at me before shouting, “I’m not gonna knock em dead mom…but I may execute them with my knowledge!”  Smiling and waving back I replied, “Make today the best day yet!” before turning and entering the house.  “Execute them with his knowledge…hmmm” I repeated to myself.

Fast forward to after school, “How was the quiz bowl?”I asked him.  “Mom it was cool!” he began,  “There were a lot of kids/school represented.”  “Really?  How many matches did you play?” I asked.  “We only played two schools, St. P’s and St. J’s, taking both matches.  And guess what?”  “Huh?” I replied.  “I answered all the questions in the first game.” As he said that, he lifted his chest and smiled at me with a degree of satisfaction.

I could see how proud of himself he was.

Perplexed, I asked him “You answered all the questions?”  The quiz bowl team is composed of four students per team.  I was a little worried his team mates would get upset with him for not allowing them to answer some of the questions as well.  “Yes!”  “How many questions were in each round?” I wondered. “I don’t know, maybe 25 or so”.  He replied.  “So you’re telling me, you answered all 25 questions…what did your team mates think?”  “Oh wait, no, I answered all the questions I knew–which were a lot of them, but not all of them.”  Fhew!!

“How did you do in the second match?” I asked.  “No, uh Mom, there are two teams.  I’m on Team A and Team B had the second match”.  He explained.  “Oh, okay, so who are your team mates?” “I don’t know some other kids.”  “Bay, what do you mean…other kids, they are your classmates who are they?”  “Um Katie E. and two others.  You know mom I never pay attention to the kids in my class, why ask me such a dumb question?” He replied.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  The boy who could answer all the questions about world knowledge got tripped up on who his team mates were.  Obviously, we know what he deems as important and what he deems is not.

stand up, stand up…

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The doll came home from school Monday with a handout promoting the possibility to be involved in a “flash mob” on Sunday, designed to shine a bright light on anti bullying.  Evidently a camera crew will be set up to video the event and then send it around the world.  My original thoughts were, “Hmm” but the doll’s enthusiasm won me over.  “Mom, Felicia is going to see if it’s okay with her mom, so if it is, can I go, please???” She pleaded.  Considering the years we’ve put up with bullies, I could not say no.  Besides, it did sound kind of fun.  The plan was to go to the “planning” meeting on Tuesday and then go from there.

When I arrived home from work on Tuesday, I reminded the doll about the event.  At first she seemed very enthusiastic, until she got off the phone with Felicia.  Evidently her mother was more leery about the event and decided against going.  “Mom, I don’t want to be the only person I know there…” the doll reasoned with me.  “How do you know?  You may know a lot of people there…” I countered.  “Mom, is it okay if I just go over to Felicia’s and play?” the doll countered.  A little disappointed, I said okay.

Fifteen minutes later both girls arrived back at the house having changed their minds.  “Felicia it’s okay with your mom?”  I asked.  “So long as you take us…” she replied.  We hurried up, choked down some dinner, then left on this new adventure. What we found were about 40 high school students from various local schools;  young men and women, boys and girls all coming together in a “glee” like atmosphere to help other area teens achieve dreams and build self esteem.  We were met at the door by Bill Giha, the area director; who in explained “This is America’s Pride. We are a drug and alcohol prevention group working with area teens which empowers peer to peer interactions, through song and dance.”

The doll and Felicia, clearly the youngest kids in attendance, were welcomed to participate and learn about the program. Over the next two hours they were taught some dance routines, listened to kids; not much older than themselves, give testimony about why they were participating in the group, what drove them to become involved and how they all wanted to make a difference.  I scanned the room and found kids of all shapes, sizes, colors and nationalities.  What drove them to come and try to make a difference is anyone’s guess.  But here they were, dancing, laughing, encouraging others while working as a group.

Afterward as we drove home I asked the girls what they thought about the evening.  “Mom, I kept looking over at you to see what you thought” the doll began.  “Doll, I wondered the same thing about you.  Pretty neat huh?  How these kids come together to perform these dance routines and then carrying them to other schools to perform…?” I replied.  “I was floored by that one girl who sang skyscraper for everyone.  Her voice as incredible” Felicia interjected.  “Yes and wasn’t it great that her friends stood behind and supported her?” I replied.  The girls continued to chat about how awkward they felt from the start, but enjoyed all the encouragement they received from the older kids.

In the end, the girls decided the flash mob wouldn’t work for them–as they didn’t have the dance routine down.  Also, the area Halloween parade takes place at the same time.  God forbid they miss out on a chance for more candy–but I can’t blame them.  I am however impressed they listened to what was being taught to them.  My proof was at bedtime when the doll said, “Mom, making a difference in someone’s life seems really fun.” I smiled at her and said, “Doll, every time you smile or say something nice to someone, you’re making a difference in their life.  You have had a very blessed life.  Some of those kids you met tonight have not…”  “Which makes it even better when you see them laughing and dancing so they can.” She interrupted .  A moment later she added,  “Maybe when I’m in High School I’ll join the group…”

“Maybe…”

 

If you would like more information on America’s Pride, please check out their website http://mail.prideyouthprograms.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/info_what-is-pride.pdf

The Hunger-Reading games….

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The doll and I made a deal last month (https://marsha8of9.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/45-and-not-a-point-less/) on obtaining a high Accelerated Reader goal, in order to receive a new Nook or Kindle for Christmas.  Up until this year, reading has not interested her in the least.  The millions of books the boy owns are the last thing she wants to read, much to my dismay.  Life would be easy if their reading tastes were similar.  However, I digress.  The doll has been particularly hard on me as of late.  Evidently, not having that “third” child so she had a playmate has been weighing heavily on her mind.  “Doll, I’m sorry life is not working out how you would have liked.  However, your life is not that bad.  God decided long ago, the boy would be your only sibling.  Your dad and I tried to have children for seven years until we got the boy.  Believe me, it was not from lack of trying.”  “I know, I just get bored.” she replied.  “Well then read a good book–achieve your accelerated reader score”.  I argued.  “Mom, books are boring.”. “As opposed to the alternative?” I questioned, before letting it drop.

Before we left for vacation, I had the boy stop at the library and take out “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.  The boy read the book when he was the doll’s age and with the recent movie and sequel to follow, the doll decided this might actually be a good book.  I made her a deal.  “I’ll read one chapter, you read one and we’ll get through the book together.”  Then a funny thing happened.  She began reading ahead.  Pulled in by the story she found the book hard to put down. I knew if I found the right book…she would see reading as fun.  Then a really funny thing happened, I was drawn in too.  We finished the book, took one look at each other and said, “We need to get the next book pronto!”  Which we did as well as the third book in the series.

Yesterday morning, as the doll prepared for school I made a confession to her…”Doll, um, I’m sorry, but I read ahead and finished the book”.  “MOM!!” “I know, but I couldn’t put it down. Besides, you’re taking it to school to read during recess and stuff…so…” I argued.  “You’re not allowed to begin the third book Missy !” she shouted back at me.  “Too late…” I replied. “MOM!!!”  “Doll, chill out, if you want to read it together I’ll do that…I may however finish the book between then and now…unless you finish “Catching Fire” soon.”

Last night she sat and read “Catching Fire” all evening.  Every once in while she would look over at me, reading “Mocking Jay” and ask, “What chapter are you on?”  “Three” I replied.  “Where are you?”  “Their….” and then she would tell me.  The books are exciting!!  When bedtime rolled around she informed me, “Mom, if you let me read for ten more minutes…”  This is the first time she’s ever said that to me…  “Sorry doll, you got school in the morning…” I said and then  watched her sneak the book to her bedroom.   After nightly prayers she said, “I wish all books were this good…”  Trying to suppress the laugh I replied, “Doll, a lot of books are better than these…you just need to be willing to read them.”

Oh and one last thing…she told me she has 37 points on her way to the goal…and Catching Fire is worth 15 points.  I think I better start saving some money…