Archive for January, 2014

Expectation, crying, and a call from the school

At 7:30 AM,  my son’s learning support teacher called. My son, P,  was very upset and crying.  She was concerned, as this was the second time she had seen him cry in three years.  He said he would feel better if he could talk to me.

The issue: his older brother M did not wear a coat to school.  (Also, another kid reported that M and another student hitting P while on the school bus. So she was going to report my older son and this other kid for bullying on the school bus.  But P. was mainly upset about the coat issue.)

Sigh.

As my husband listened in, I consoled my boy. Here’s a snippet of our conversation.:

Me: Hi, sweetie, what’s wrong? You were crying?

P: Yes.  M. did not wear a coat to school! And Dad told him to.  He needs to listen.

Me: He didn’t wear his coat?  And that upset you? Well, he does that sometimes.  It’s his decision.  It’s weird, but it happens.

P: Yeah.

Me: I’ll have Dad talk to him about it, ok?

P: Ok.

Me: Was M hitting you on the bus, sweetie?

P: Yes.

Me: And who else?

P: “Jake.” (name changed)

Me: We’ll take care of that too.

P: Ok.

Me: Is there anything else? Do you feel better?

P: I feel better now.

Me: Ok, sweetie. You have a good day.  You can start your day over right now, ok?  I love you.

P: I love you too, mom.  Bye.

My husband and I looked at each other and took a deep breath and sighed. My husband said, “Oh, boy.”  I shook my head.  We were  upset by the bullying and that P. didn’t report it himself.  P. was upset by the coat.  So there’s two life lessons that P. needs to learn: letting people make their own decisions and standing up for himself.

I am so grateful that other students were looking out for P.  I’m grateful for an understanding teacher.  I’m most of all grateful for a son who knows that he can call me if he has a problem and for teachable moments.  And this gives me hope.

 

Investigation: The Case of the Missing Tablet

I am just beside myself with joy!  Want to hear a true feel good story?

When we helped out at the church’s pantry on a Saturday, my son’s tablet was stolen. He had left it unattended to come find me.  I was sad, but not surprised. We tried to track the tablet electronically, but it had been purged and reset.  So sad.  We figured that the tablet was gone. My son, husband, and I had lots of conversations about what my son would do next time if he took an electronic to pantry day, or anywhere else.  We decided to work on street smarts with all the kids.

However, my church family was not content to just be sad and chalk it up to “lesson learned.” In fact, they were pretty upset.  My “sister” Wendy, who is going to partner with me for a new ministry at the food pantry, and “Peanut,” a man who comes to the pantry and has become active in church, “investigated.” Peanut then called his suspect and told him that if he didn’t return the tablet to Peanut within 1/2 hour of when Peanut got off work, then Peanut was going to come get it and bring the police. Peanut had the tablet within 25 minutes.

When Wendy messaged to tell me, I was shocked. I’ve never had someone watch out for my family like this… and sadly to to say, especially in the church! Wendy and I were so excited, and I could hardly wait to tell my son.

“Guess what!!!” I said to my boy.

“What?”

“You know Ms. Wendy and Peanut from church?”

“Yeah.”

“They did an investigation!”

“An investigation?”

“Yes, and guess what they found!”

Pause.  Look of wonder emerges on my boy’s face.

“My tablet?!?”

“Yes!  Do you want to go with Wendy and me to pick is up from Peanut?”

“Yes!”

So my boy and I picked up Wendy at her place and went to meet Peanut at a 7-11 and got his tablet!

 My boy was so happy.  He danced, ran around the parking lot, exclaimed, “You even got the charger!”, and hugged Wendy and Peanut.
I love it that we have have a community that watches out for one another, and that we can watch out for, too.  I was able to explain to all of my kids that they have a real church family that cares for them and really likes them, a lot, and that they can count on this.  We can do the same for them, too.  I explained how rare this is, and that this is God’s love in action.  We still need to have street smarts, but we also know that someone has our backs.
Community, love, and justice.  It was a great day!

Homework

I have to say that I’ve struggled to let myself off the hook for this one. I know that if I get too busy, something is bound to fall through the cracks.  Kids know that and they are sneaky!

Last fall, I vowed to be a better help to my younger son regarding school work.  I knew that I had  dropped that ball for sure when I received an email from a teacher saying that he was in danger of failing because of missed homework.

Imagine my surprise when I found that my  “honor-roll”  student was making D’s in some of his classes, and that my precious little boy had been lying to me (“I don’t have homework. I did it in resource period.”) like some crazy teenager.

Oh, wait, he is a teenager.  Wake up call!!!

The D that surprised me was in English, most notably his spelling assignments.  He has always been an excellent speller.  I noticed that, although he was making A+’s on his exams, he was making F-‘s on his homework.  Since there was more homework grades than exams grades, his average had plummeted to a D.

I also discovered that his grades in history were dropping, mainly because he wasn’t doing his weekly homework.  I was surprised to find out that he had been expected to find a current news event– tv, internet, newspaper, etc.– to share with the class every week since school began and he hadn’t done it all year!

I called him in to review his grades. First, I addressed the history grade.  I asked him where he was getting his news articles or stories, and he said that he made something up every week to share with the class.  (Boy, I bet those stories were interesting. Kudos for creativity and imagination.) He also said that he “forgot” his current events paper every week.  I told him that I had found his weekly current event paper on the teacher’s web page, and made him  encouraged him to save it to his computer so he could print it out if he “forgot” it at school.  No more excuses.

Next, I addressed English / spelling. I showed him his homework grades and his average grade.  In response, he pointed out his test scores.  He didn’t feel that he needed to do homework if he could ace the tests. Good argument.  However, my goal was and is to teach responsibility for himself and his own work, and part of this is homework.

After our “discussion,” I threw down the ultimatum.  I told him that he needed to get his homework average up to a 70% in all classes or he would lose his new tablet computer.  That did the trick– he brought home his spelling homework and completed the whole week’s worth in 15 minutes.  Stinker!  He also had a “real” news story to share with the class that week.

So, I dropped the ball, but I got it back.  And I learned once again that even sweet little boys with autism grow into snarky teenagers.  I wonder what he’ll have for me next!

Question: What are some ways that you keep your kids accountable for their homework?

So conflicted!

which way

From weheartit.com

I’ve been struggling with internal conflict lately.  Here’s an example:

A.  As a mom, especially an “autism” mom, I am passionate about streamlining life, lessening stress, and living inexpensively.  I love to help others do the same thing.

B.  I am involved with 4 home businesses that depend on events and sales– which means I depend upon scheduling events and people buying things, despite the economy and hectic schedules of everyone around me.

Seem like these two don’t match.  Especially since I don’t want to be a hypocrite!

As I did some soul searching and pondering today, I realized that my three direct sales businesses are all about health, sustainability, saving money (in the long run), and clearing out junk from pantry, medicine cabinet, and closet.  The 4th one, my scrabble tile jewelry business, re-purposes game pieces and gives people truly meaningful gifts, rather than “junk to dust,” as my mother in law says.  All four businesses support small businesses and / or small farmers, fair trade, and the environment.

So I guess I can say that, even though I depend on people to buy things, they are things that will save time, money, and stress.  At least, that’s my experience and my hope for others.

This economy, and the shift that is going on in the United States and globally toward sustainable living and fair practices and fair trade, has really gotten me thinking about what I contribute and how I teach my kiddos to live and act. Recently, my husband and I watched a documentary called Money and Life and we’ve decided to make changes.  What changes they will be are yet to be seen, but we are considering our family life, home, and work. What is truly valuable?

So this is the start of my ramblings of my inner conflicts and how I work through them, and teach my kiddos along the way.

Can you relate?  If so, what do you do?

UPDATE! 2014!!! (And a giveaway!)

OOPS! Please forgive me!  I had a poll asking you readers about your new year resolutions and promised a give away.  What I didn’t realize was that I wouldn’t be able to see who posted what, so if you would comment below if you participated, please let me know.  I want to give away a Wildtree gift basket!  Give away ends 1-31-14. 

In my last post, I said that I would share my goals for 2014.  Here they are.  Short and sweet and simple:

1.  Get a handle on my business finances.  Going from one to three (four?) businesses is tricky for my adhd self.

2. Make sure my middle guy does his homework.  He’s one of these kids that makes A’s on the tests, so what does homework have to do with anything?  (I think he’s college material, so grades do count.)

This might mean that I have to start an incentive for grades.  Sigh.

3.  Keep decluttering, refocusing, and “clearing.” I feel that big change is a-comin’, and I want to be ready.  More on that later.

So what are you goals?  Participate in my poll, and  be entered in to win a Wildtree package worth $20!

From 2013: Back to the old school

Recently I noticed that I had never published this.  So, here it is for your enjoyment!

Life is never boring, is it? We’ve had a rough start to 2013 in our family.

Previously I  blogged about my oldest son’s new school.  We were really excited about the opportunity he had to go to a Christian technical school.

Turns out that the school just wasn’t a good fit.

Don’t get me wrong– I think that they were doing a great job, and were doing everything they could to assist our oldest and to help him be successful.   Our son is not the easiest person in the world to get along with sometimes, especially if you are in authority over him.  It just wasn’t working out.

Today we had a meeting to get him enrolled in the public high school.  Yep, back to the Panthers!  I was encouraged, because the staff truly seemed happy to have him back.  We hammered out his schedule, came up with new strategies, and breathed a sigh of relief.

I hope he has a great rest of the year.  I hope he graduates on schedule– 2014!  And most of all, I hope that he knows that he is in a good place, even if it is not the one that we envisioned.

A friend passed along this quote:  Sometimes when it seems things are falling apart, things are really falling into place.  I am hopeful!

Bye bye 2013…Here’s to 2014

I am so ready for a new start. 2013 was craaaaaazzzzzzzzyyyyyy.  Here’s why, including the good, bad, and the ugly:

1.  Major family crisis, which included 8 months of multi-systemic therapy (MST) for whole family.

2. Oldest son went to private school, then back to public school. Talk about IEP mess.

3.  I began two more direct sales businesses– doTerra and All’asta.  I still do Wildtree.

4.  My scrabble tile jewelry and craft business has taken off.

5.  Another undisclose-able business venture is in the works.

6. Oldest son preparing for post-high school education.

7.  Daughter began going to a charter school, which is oriented toward gifted kids.  It’s been a challenge adjusting, for all of us.  We really miss our neighborhood school, but she is in the right place.

8. I had one of the most challenging classes of my “career” teaching part time at a local college.  So challenging, I was tempted to quit.

9.  I had the amazing experience of being the guest speaker at an event for special needs moms / caregivers / wives.

10.  My hubby and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon!  Then we came back and celebrated 14 years of marriage!  Thanks be to God for my parents, who we flew up from OK to watch our kiddos, and to the three support people who came in to check and make sure everything was okay!  (We had made the arrangements, and then a week later the family crisis hit.)

So, good by 2013… to the good, bad, and the ugly.  And hello, 2014, and all your goodness, badness, and ugliness.  For my next post I will share with you my goals and hopes for 2014.

Happy New Year!