Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Playing the waiting game.

Tonight we are waiting.
We have waited a LONG time.

We are still waiting..... and waiting.... and waiting some more.
Most of the day today I have been waiting.

Do you want to know what for?

Our son to get home from a 2 day sports event. I am not expecting him home any time soon. It is late, and since the teachers/coaches don't have to work, naturally we shouldn't have to work the next day either.... Funny how that works out isn't it? I shouldn't be snotty....our son was invitied by the head coach to go and it is a BIG honor to be on JV and be asked to attend. Mostly, we are not used to it.

We aren't used to having our son invitied to much of anything. When we get asked to do something, or he gets asked it is almost like we try too hard to help. We want to be sucessful at whatever we are asked to do and being the over acheivers that we are there are times when we just go at stuff too hard. Same with our son; he gets nervous, and tries too hard to do well.

I think that can affect him when he is trying to make friends too, he wants to have friends SO badly and then he alienates people or they are just too ignorant to understand that people are different. His one experience with people he thought were his friends; well he discovered that their constant mocking was just a way for them to get him to get awy from them. At least that is what he thinks....and now that he has had some space from the experience, I think he was right; and his choice to move on and get away from people that could bring him down was a wise choice. Wisdom is not only for the ancients....young ones can have wisdom too.

I think if people give us a chance, or give the boy a chance they would find a highly intelligent kid who is able to communicate on many different levels and is once again trying too hard. My husband and I are making every effort to STOP trying so hard and just trying hard enough to make everything work.

We will keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Does anybody know what time it is?

I sure don't. I am watching my son grow up, and away, like the beautiful balloon in the song.

I know where he is going, but he doesn't know or understand where he has been. Like the Talking Head's song, "I know what I am knowing but I don't know where I've been." I know the link has NOTHING to do with what I mentioned but it is an awesome song and I just LOVE the Talking Heads....it is classic.
ANYWAY, realizing my son is growing up is hard on me. I am scared. What if he forgets to get his meds? What if he doesn't contact his doc if he has a problem? What if he needs a new doc and can't find one on his own? What in the heck do we do?

KInd of like kicking the lemons dropped on our heads when he was first diagnosed. We start at the begining and work our way through the problems. There isn't a lot I can do besides "recommend". We can make up the "Life book" we have one. It has doc office cards, phone numbers and other things in it....a how to live and survive book for our Aspie. There are a lot of things to add to it and there is information that needs to be update. It is time consuming and draining. Even the boy knows where the book is and that it has directions for him to use for when he is out on his own. Although then I think we would call it by something else. Still, having something like this is useful and if he ever needs it the information is right there.

Do any of us know what is going to happen next? Kind of like eating out and having stale pasta, we never know what we are going to be doing or what is going to happen until it does and then things are what they are. Although a lot of people may not like the book of Isaiah there is a passage that I have kept in my purse. It reminds me that the path isn't always smooth, nor is it narrow, there are twists and turns but it is level; it is the path that God has us on. "The way of the righteous is level, thou dost make smooth the path of the righteous."

Tonight I noticed that there were "friends" who had unfriended us on FB. I am thinking I must have gotten too religious for them, or they got tired of me or just got bored. Either way, I think they dumped me several monthes ago and I just never noticed. Ooops. I guess there are times when I should acutally check out my friends list and see who I am missing....I often forget that part. Oddly enough, I was thinking about asking one of them if they were still their home product line. I guess I will have to ask elsewhere now....Oh well maybe it is more their loss than mine. And that is another thing....life changes and we don't have to always like it but we do have to accept where we are and try to be happy about it.

I am nervous. Our son is away from home this evening. He was invited to an important activity and I know they will help him and support him while he is gone. It is weird not having him home....he is fine and I know this but in my heart I am still scared. "What if" is plaguing me and kind of making me feel bad.
 It is the "What if's" that hold us back and stop us from doing things we should try to do. When you are 100 are you gonna regret it or will you be happy where you are?

It is a lot to think about.

Does Anybody know what time it is?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A sense of entitlement.

Yeah, and before the holidays too.
I heard something today, and it bothers me. How many people have a "sense of entitlement" to a parents holdiay tradition?
Here is the story: A woman we know, her mother in law has passed away this year. This woman has regularly hosted the (in law) family Christmas Eve celebration. Every year, making 2 kinds of meat, side dishes, glog (whatever that is) and the subsequent mess that is enduring and follows. So what happens this year? The mom-in-law passes away, the (in law) family Christmas Eve host has decided to "retire" This Christmas she is going to church and have soup for dinner and go to bed and have a lovely peaceful Christmas day with NO DIRTY DISHES.

I don't know about you but it sounds good to me.

To continue, the next thing I hear (same story), this woman/Christmas Eve host was yelled at by her brother in law and his wife because, "They always have Christmas Eve at there house! Whatever will they do? Who will make the roast beast and the ham hog?"

Gee I don't know, MAYBE if they had gotten off their fat lazy butts and helped out over the years it might have been more like a holiday for everyone. At this point it sounds to me like the house elf was given clothes and the lady of the manor has a new regiume in place.

Ergo, the sense of entitlement that I am getting back to.

I don't get it. I guess my husband and I are different.....yeah no jokes, we know we are a little goofy and we are traditional and old fashioned and boring as all get out. BUT what I am getting at is that we don't believe we are entitled to anything....we rarely are asked what would work best for us, and frankly we are astounded that anyone would ask us (right like that would happen). It used to be I would post this letter thing every holiday, or send it around. Then I realized that no one was reading it anyway so it would be silly. Our son could cause enough commotion anyway he didn't need his mom acting all "entitled" to him having special treatment or understanding. SO I gave it up and just stay on him when we are out with family to make sure he is behaving himself. It is a lot of effort but well worth it in the long run....at least no one is complaining that I know of.

Where do these people get off feeling entitled to the Christmas traditions? Not even their own traditions, but ones imposed on them. It just sound strange....I mean I can understand doing what others may ask, or just helping out when asked. But making someone host a Christmas party and then telling them what they are going to have and how it is to be and not helping???? And NO this is not me, my husband, his family or mine. It really is someone we know and are acquaintances with. So don't get worried, no one is walking all over us and we aren't over extending ourselves and trying too hard or anything stupid like that.

No one owes us anything, and we have no expectations of things because we think it is better to be grateful when something good happens. Christmas is a time to reflect, remember and miss. Yes MISS, miss people, places, things, singing with my cousins, slipping on the snow, riding a snowmobile at my aunt's farm....missing my Dad....it is a time to remember the family we love and our friends and how much we love and cherish them too.

Chrismas has NO room for entitlement; otherwise known as the house elf got clothes and left the party early. IT is time for people to remember what Christmas is all about.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKk9rv2hUfA

Friday, December 17, 2010

He did WHAT?

My son cut a class.

Yesterday.

He missed a test and has a 4 hour detention to serve. He has to serve it before the end of the term. He was able to take the test but he still has to serve the detention. Classic.

He will learn not to be so stupid again. But he did do something atypical, and that was cutting a class without permission. In Twilight, there is a part where Edward says, "Sometimes it is healthy to cut." I don't know if it was healthy to cut class this time, but he did it and has to suffer the consequences. I have heard 2 different story versions; one is that he was having stomach issues, the other was that he and a friend decided to do a karakoke song during lunch and they had to wait. Either way he is going to have to serve his detention.

I encouraged the dean to give him a detention. I did. I think it would be good for him. He needs to learn and if this is how he learns to sit down, shut up and show up where he is supposed to be and when then so be it. Oddly enough, we have encouraged teachers, deans and staff to give our son a detention....we practically begged them to do it last year and they didn't. Now, he can't use the Aspergers excuse....or it was my stomach or the meds I am on. Nope, you have to be responsible and go to class; he is busted wide open on this one.

I almost wish detentions were like in the Harry Potter series....send the buggers out to the Forbidden Forest to help Hagrid. Now that would be perfect....and fun...and totally scary. But instead, detentions are usually in a study hall and you get to sit there and do NOTHING. At least that is the way they used to be.

I actually got one once. A detention. It was in grade school and some skanky boy tried to stick a worm down my shirt. I whaled on him with my little red bookbag. Some monitor gave me some warnings and a detention. I refused to serve the detention; after telling her it was stupid, and I wouldn't go. I  then told the teacher and the principal that they would have to make me serve it and the guy deserved the black eye he got. I didn't get in trouble and I don't even think the detention went on my record.  But will I tell my son about that...NO. Largely becuase he needs to serve this detention.

Kids with IEPS get out of alot. They don't get punished when they do dumb things, like cut class. My son deserves this detention and I fully back the school for it. If he does it again he deserves another one. Besides, we will make sure it doesn't happen again. He is grounded from activities and was informed that he would LOOSE the cable TV in his bedroom as the TV would be permanently removed and there would be no going back from that. He is more limited now, because of that cut than he ever was before.

Deep down, him doing somthing so atypical is almost exciting to me. I am shocked he did it and happy; but the fact that he is pushing the borders is a little scary. This is just a part of things we aren't used to and it requires a whole new way of laying down the law.

SO much to consider, Let us counsel.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I get to say "No"

Getting to "No".

Do you remember the old book "Getting to Yes"? It was about the psychology of getting people to say yes to whatever you wanted them to do. I was first exposed to it in a Business Psych class at the Baptist college (who'da thunk?).

I get to say no. A lot. More than I would like to. It is a luxury afforded the few: Getting to say NO.

I say No to my cats, my son (he would say constantly, that isn't accurate) sometimes to my husband and many, many times to other people. Saying no to whatever it is a learned trait. Most people will never use the word NO. My son still knows that if I say, "I don't think so" that means No too. We started saying No, but also pointing out that we hadn't ever used a special ed excuse (horrors!!!) but decided that certain things were too much and we had to say No to keep our sanity.

Saying No, is a luxury item.

Most Special ed family's won't say it; using the word No is seen as a negative thing. I don't think I agree. We all have to learn to accept the No's in life. All of them, even the ones where we KNOW it should be a yes (like a job I KNOW would have worked great for me) and it is still a No. Our kids, any special ed kid, has to be able to accept NO gracefully. No tantrums or meltdowns. Just an OK , thanks and walk away.

Getting to No. not taking on too much, just enough to be comfortable and reasonably happy.

Saying to the boy that No is supposed to be a good thing at certain times. There are times when No affords one new opportunites for growth, either mentally or spiritually. When we get to say NO it is because we are going to learn, try and grow in a different way. That sounds hokey. But it does mean that there are things that we don't do, or don't HAVE to do. Kind of like going up North and not going out for burgers on Monday. If we don't like the proprietor much we don't go. We go elsewhere and make up our own traditions while on vacation. One way of saying no.

"These things have to be handled delicately," -Margaret Hamilton in the Wizard of OZ. She was right, although we aren't going after little Dorothy we are doing things in a way that are comfortable to us. That's right, to us....not perfect, not right, and not acceptable in other homes. But good in our home, with the 3 rotten kitties and the boy who is still learning hygiene (getting better at that one TG) and the lack of sweeping that happens and the stupid eco washer that ruined my favorite heather grey sweater. Getting to NO. Getting to say NO I can't find a new heather grey sweater (Rats) and NO I can't afford go buy one. Teaching the cats NOT to jump at the vintage Christmas tree- it is all about saying NO.

Telling our son that IF he gives away his class ring when he picks it up tomorrow he will be GROUNDED for life....and possibly beyond. Getting to No: how do we get a kid who has NO CONCEPT of money to not break us to the bank and say NO to what he wants for himself to learn to budget and OMG we don't need it , want it or can use it so let it stay at the store, garage sale or the booth at the craft fair. Being generous, but not stupid....and learning to say NO delicately when required. Getting to NO.....

It sounds better and better doesn't it? I am rather likting the entire concept. We teach the kids NO now, and then later the employers don't have to relearn how to handle employees who have never not gotten a prize for a mediocre job and can't handle critism worth a darn. I am thinking this is why some of my son's teachers think we are off the bend. We say NO. We are not mean, but we are saying NO to classes with minimal expectations, No to garbage reading materials, and NO to things that are just not right.

I wonder if the special ed world would explode if people said to their kids, "NO you can't go to the store and spin with a bag on your head." "No you can't run and bump into people, it is rude." For little kids, "No you can't have the new toy; if you can't behave then you have to sit in a shopping cart until we are ready to leave."
Saying NO; being strong enough to say NO. We still love our son and we say NO to a lot of stuff. Maybe other families need to say NO too. It might help, and like Temple Grandin once mentioned, these kids have no manners, are out of control and need to learn limitations. We aren't doing them any favors by not saying NO.

Think about it. Saying NO is hard work, but in the long run it is worth it. Try it....say NO to one thing. See what happens. It might be a fun social experiement that totally doesn't work, but then again, it could free you from a lot of stress, pressure and other things that are weighing you down....and you special ed families KNOW what I am talking about.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The final countdown

That sounds dramatic.
Our son has 2 years left of HS. Then he is considered old enough to be "out on his own" I realized this evening that although he is doing well, we are still limited by the "special ed" stigma. We aren't outgoing enough to be a popular family. Our son was not in kindergarten or first grade with most of his classmates. He is an enigma. He has lived in this community since he was 3 but has the stigma of being "from out of town" because he went to a different school district. Even though it sounds weird, most of the kids in any town have made their friends by the time they hit recess in first grade. Same goes with the parents....you can only make so many "playdates" before you start becoming friends.

In Aspie-land, it doesn't always work that way. We are working so hard with the kid, we forget the importance of social time. Even now we don't get away like we should. Tonight, I realized we need to consider the social venue much more and to think about what we are going to do when and how.

We don't have much more time before the "Final COuntdown and the boy will be walking out the door to go to his first day of college.

Friday, December 3, 2010

making things right

I have been contemplating this lately. How does one make things right? Do you make it right for the people around you? The general community, the creation at large? Or do you do the best that you can with what you have to work with and leave the rest go?

Being the youngest, we are all supposed to be the "people pleasers". Supposedly we are happiest when everyone else is happy and even better happy with us.

Lately, I beleive we haven't made some people happy (or maybe we have, who knows). We have been told we are graceless, out for public acclaim, we are difficult and we are mean spirted. Now I can tell you honestly, I have been called a lot of things in my life but those adjectives have never been part of the description. What bothers me the most is that this description was given to my husband and I by people who have known us briefly. They don't know WHAT it is like to be a special ed parent, nor what we go through regularly.

We live in a world of schools. Teachers, principals and therapists become like family. Sometimes they are family, and sometimes they are "adopted" briefly and move on when our child makes a change. As such, parents like us have earned our "stripes" in difficult environments. We are outspoken, we are direct, and we ask uncomfortable questions. As special ed parents, this is all part of the package. We are advocates for our child. Because of that, if people aren't used to it that means that we come off as though we are problematic. Ironically, when I mentioned that to my son's doc, she laughed and said, "You two? Now that is funny. You two are the best advocates I know for your son, and if that is being problematic, I wish more parents were like you."

Recently, we came off as difficult only because we don't know what goes on in a gen ed world. We aren't generic....we aren't cookie cutter and we aren't able to comprehend things that we don't have the expereince with (gen ed people). We need people to tell us that gen people are delicate, and scared of us and out kid. Who knew? we didn't, we do everything with sledgehammer because that is what we HAVE had to do daily to make certain our son is learning what he needs to learn to get along in the blasted generic society that he is going to be stuck with for the rest of his life! It is called working within the system (fortunately now the school thing is awesome) and there have been times when we are crying, upset and frustrated because we either aren't told the whole story, or are annoyed because gen people are just that gen people. Working outside the box in special education is beyond what they are mentally capable of. Because of that, we cry and are sad because they miss out a lot.

We are difficult, when we know people don't understand what we are doing, where we are going and how things are going to be. Some may call it "Being directed by God", actually, that is what my husband calls it. I call it "Being pushed, shoved kicking and fighting into a direction that I may or may not what to be in." Most of the time if there is problem, if it is generic, we walk away. We have SO MANY things to contend with, generic issues are so beyond what we are dealing with....many times we find it isn't worth the effort. We expend SO MUCH energy for so many different things. Doing even one more thing, one more meeting, one more whatever is just more than we have available to us at any given time.

Our stuff is the big life issuses kind of thing. The who, what, where, how and why. It involves writing a "Life Book" in case anything happens to my husband or I so people know how to help our son if he needs it or he knows how to help himself by going to it as he gets older. Our issues are the "ultimate scheme of things" issues, and not just a kid who dislikes our son to such a degree that our son only feels safe as far away as possible from this kid. BTW- we did help our son by letting him decide what he wanted with that issue and he chose to walk away. Deciding what college, cooking school, business management program and if he wants graduate school to go to.....then where to live and how to suceed...this is where we are going and if we go in "public" or we hide in a freaking basement (he better not, it will get cold w/out heat) it doesn't matter as long as our son DOES THE BEST HE CAN DO.

Yes we are graceless, souless pieces of work that have been chosen by God to do something great. I would love to know what it is but for now, we will get up at 4:30 AM and head out to yet another wrestling meet to watch our boy rack up points for his team!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

fitting it all in

When you pack, like for a trip, you have a certain amount of stuff you have to fit in.

When you are working, you have a certain amount of work you have to fit in....and complete.

So what is it when you are scheduling? A good friend of mine mentioned this evening that we were the "sandwich generation" we have older parents and high maintenance kids. That isn't a sandwich, that is the whole enchilada. Dealing with Mom's (my Mom's) doc appt's a sports schedule on the same day, and then trying to figure out WHAT we are doing for a party and then being relieved when the idea is scrapped....now that is a classic case of overload and trying to fit too much in at one time. as parents of an Aspie, this is a part of life....it is what we do. We do this with grace, style and our own little bit of flair just to jazz it up a bit.

We are adjusting to me working out of the home again. good grief, I am adjusting....I have to get up, get dressed and not stink and go to work. Anyway, for the 3 of us that is a major deal. Me getting up and out that is. The stinky part....well I am a girl and I do wear perfume so I guess being stinky is all part of life. picking out what to wear to work is a challenge.... putting outfits together and remembering what is what is a whole nother kettle of fish. It is good for me and I like it but remembering that wearing a tank top to work just won't cut it is rather a culture shock. (It gets hot in the office....I broil)

This has nothing to do with Autism. Well, maybe it does. Our kids have to fit it all in; the school bit, the social venues and the "why am I doing this?" part of the life of a teen male Aspie. Today is the first day of the rest of their lives....I remember when my Dad would say that and I would just wonder what the heck he was talking about. now I know; or at least I think I know. I am not so arrogant to believe I know everything about my son or his problems. He has Aspergers. That doesn't necessarily mean he is disabled or incapable for life. That MEANS he is doing things a little differently. If he ever came to me and tried the, "I am disabled, I ahve Aspergers" line on me the boy would be grounded for life 3x over. He tried it once; lost his bedroom door, lost his privledges and lost his right to privacy. He has NEVER used that excuse in front of us again. Smart kid.

Having a disability doesn't mean you can't do it, it means you do it differently. There ain't nutnin' wrong with that. Maybe if we all tried harder to do things differently there wouldn't be such a mess in the world. Or in our homes or on the street or down the street and in the town. Kind of like "This is the house that Jack built"....do you get it or is it totally not making sense?

For those of you who remember me in college, you would remember the pink/purple/fushia hair colors, the weird clothes and the thinking outside the box....my stylist would remember cutting my hair as short as she could on one side and then leaving it as long as I could stand it on the other....doing things differently....and although it was my way of revolting against a super strict environment. It did me good; both the strictness (which I didn't have it as strict at home) and the funky look. Doing things differently, it all works in the long run. Now I have amazing zebra striped shoes with fushia accents and wood heels....great stuff.

Our kid, he does things differently, but he is just as smart as the kid on the honor role. Our son does it differently. He studies differently (we have used baseball cards and a board game to play 3 strikes- each answers 3 questions to make our team move on the board) now we use flash cards and night time reading/memorization. It is all different. he studies and gets good grades; jsut like the kid next door.

Yeah we fit it all in that tiny suitcase and then we squash the heck out of it to make sure it all stays put.