Category Archives: Parenting

Will You Remember Me ~ Daily Prompt


Daily Prompt: Singular Sensation

If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?

I’m so tired but I can’t sleep
Standin’ on the edge of something much to deep
It’s funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word
We are screaming inside, but we can’t be heard 

I will remember you, will you remember me? 
Don’t let your life pass you by, 
Weep not for the memories 

Again got drawn in by my own thoughts on the subject.  I read “Will You Remember Me? over at Cheri Speak. Sorry about copping your title, but Sarah MacLachlan‘s haunting voice drifts through my mind when I think about the legacy I want to leave my boy when I’m gone…. Will you remember me?  It speaks to the part of my soul that wants to be remembered for something……. good.  

I’m wondering if he even knows that I write, that I love writing.  Would he be interested?  Would he care?

The reason I started this blog was so that my son who was born later in my life than I’m comfortable with, has access to his mother after her demise, whenever that should occur.  I had forgotten that somewhere along the line, but I suppose that the goal will always be met as long as I continue writing.

“If one experience of life change results from what I write in my blog,” it would be that my son reads this blog and something I say will influence him from beyond the grave to become a better person at some future fork in his life.  Wow, that could be a premise for a movie, no?

 

Disney and the Lone Ranger


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It’s after midnight and I’m fuming.  I vowed to write a post, but I’m so tired.  I’m so upset about the Lone Ranger movie.  I’m sick.  I promised Gabe that we’d go see this movie… I was looking forward to it, myself.  It was produced by DISNEY and I automatically felt it was safe to assume it would be appropriate for my boy.  Oh how I was wrong.  I just found out about the extreme violence and the scene where the villain of the movie slices a heart out of a living person and (gulp) eats it.   What the heck?  Where’s the decency?

Yes, as a parent I really should have checked more into this movie, but shit, I’ve been into watching the trailers for weeks now.  I never saw the violence spoken about in the reviews.  Disney’s reputation lulled me into false security.  You know, the almighty Disney Image of princesses and the princes that sweep them off their feet.  I’m boycotting this movie, even though I know full well that I can see it without my son, on the sly.  I would not feel good about that and I’m not about to betray him in that way.  What the heck am I going to tell him after discussing this movie with him for weeks?  After both of us conveying our excitement to each other during those weeks?

Another reason I am pissed is that Disney marketed this violent adult movie to young kids.  Kids that play with Legos.  Lego kids. imgres-2imgres-3

Need I really say more?  Well, I’m making a hard parenting decision and will risk my child’s wrath and severe disappointment– something I try my absolute best to avoid, by somehow explaining why we’re NOT going to see this movie.  At this point, I really wish that I had a much larger readership.  I feel I want to get this out as far and as wide as possible.  Yes, I’ll even pull the “Autism” card.  It’s much harder for autistic children to adapt to changes and I’m quite sure that he’s feeling pretty set that he will see this movie and soon.  He’s smart and knows that July 1st has come and gone…. I PROMISED!  So many things going on right now, did this really need to be one of them?  Today is his dad’s birthday, so maybe he’s be preoccupied with that and some kitchen cooking things I’ve got lined up for the summer.  A reunion picnic coming up, we’ll see how that goes.  One thing I have going for me is that there are a couple of other movies coming out like “Despicable Me2″and “Turbo.” imgres-4

One commenter stated, “My mother let me see the ‘Exorcist’ when I was six and I turned out all right.”  Um, yeah, really?  BTW, how are we supposed to know that you’re “alright?”  Your word is not enough for me.  Yes, this world is changing, but where is it going?  Nowhere I want to be.  I don’t care if there is a lot, OR “just a little” violence.  Violence is nothing different than that and I’m NOT down with my kid being exposed to it at his present tender age of eight years old.  I should’ve known something was up when I realized that Johnny Depp had top billing and that his name is set over Armie Hammer’s name, meaning the main character is Tonto and not the Lone Ranger.  Whaat?  I want the legendary hero and not a caricature!   I also should’ve known something bad was up when they changed the Lone Ranger’s outfit from white (really a light blue when seen in color) to black.  We’ve been showing Gabe the old LR episodes and he’s expecting that… I should point out, however, that he DID point out the difference in the two Tonto’s.  Also, Disney there are so many Native American actors out there who would’ve been better choices than Mr. J.D.  He’s got to wear a lot of blackish makeup to cover up the fact that he’s got white skin… geesh.  I’m not reflecting what critics are saying.  Yes, I did read a few reviews, but as you can see, I have plenty of my own reasons to complain.  I have provided a few random links below and I’ve not read them, so there are no hidden personal agendas regarding reviews.

This is where my kid spends time, in anticipation of going to see the movie, the LEGO Lone Ranger site:

LEGO LONE RANGER home page games to lure them in and products galore to buy.

Oh geez, I’m going to publish this probably too soon, as I often do (AND DID).  Then I’ll spend tomorrow editing and adding stuff I forgot about…. OR maybe I’ll do the right thing and wait.  One thing is VERY sure.  I will be boycotting this movie, and the Lego sets associated with it.  I would boycott Disney, as well, but we really can’t afford to go to Disney amusement parks or purchase special novelty items, so it won’t be too difficult to just  continue to stay away.  My kid will hate me, thank you very much.

Follow up to Yesterday’s Post


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I got so caught up in my own experience with being bullied (This is a Bully Free Zone).  Usually I just have a burst of writing, then publish right away without editing and refining my thoughts.  But where this would normally lead to is my hopes for my child, new to the public school system in an urban area.  Sometimes I see my son as a fragile flower… yeah, that’s me; but it’s definitely a product of also knowing that school aged kids can be with most ferocious of tormentors and I worry about that.

We had an incident this year with bullying, where the adults of the school did not properly, nor thoroughly, assess this incident to appreciate the full story.  What they saw were two kids who accosted my child, one holding his hands behind his back and one punching him in the stomach.  What would that tell you?  These were kids from my son’s second grade class.  They also saw my son laughing, so they presumed that they all were playing.  THAT turned my stomach.  Autistic kids cannot read or present appropriate facial expressions or body cues.  The teacher in the lunchroom did not have the training to recognize this and so she thought that they all were playing.  After I got done flipping my wig, I got ahold of the principal and blasted his ear on the need for training for ALL personnel who come into contact with my kid.  I explained to him what happened and that I had extensively questioned my son and concluded that this was not playing.  As an outcast during my school years, I realized that he, who also does not have many friends, must have been happy to have attention from his peers, in ANY form, hence his laughter.  Also, he did not realize what had actually happened.  My son said that they thought he was a “robber.”  It took several separate questioning sessions to get out of him that he was not playing with them in the first place and that their actions HURT him.  I think he still was totally clueless as to what had transpired.  Thank GOD that the school acted accordingly in that they have zero tolerance for those actions whether it was play or not play.  These boys are now separated in the classroom.

Getting back to educating our teachers.  Yeah, does that sound like an oxi-moron?  It does to me.  These school districts do not want to pay for the continuing education and training for the teachers in their schools. Our principal is suggesting or urging our teachers to get training in autism.  It may not seem like it, but it’s a pretty BIG damn step!  At the very least, he is acknowledging the need, but sadly not ready to have the district pay for it.  Hopefully, they will have more of these workshops included when teachers have to go for their “inservices”.  It’s a day when the district’s kids have the day off, but teachers must go to these, I want to say, conventions and take workshops.

Plain and simple.  I do not want my kid bullied.  My rant of yesterday stems from that; but as a mother of one, I feel for all children, not just my own.  Forget about No Child Left Behind.  NO CHILD SHOULD EXPERIENCE THE PAIN OF BEING BULLIED, period.  My heart is bursting.

Autism: The Life 2012


Last night my head was swirling around with ideas, but as always when it gets time to write them down, I’m a blank.  So, I’ll do what I always do, write.  Write down the strands of thought that surround my head like a maiden’s soft, light hair that moves with the breeze in a surreal kind of way.  Yes, I’m awake and hope you have the inclination to stay with me.

When we first leaned that our boy was autistic, I was devastated.  For him and for us.  We were new parents, well not “new” exactly, but he is our first and only one, which will probably remain that way since we are in our early and mid fifties.  We didn’t think we’d have him (if you’d like to read those details, you can look here) in the first place, so after seven years, I’m not so sure that God has another one in His plan for us.  In a way, I’m relieved as it would be a hardship, both financially and probably physically; but I do wish that our Gabe could have a brother or sister.   Not too long ago, he’d ask for one, almost constantly; and even now, he looks at my belly and asks if I’m pregnant…. oh boy.  Which reminds me of a most embarrassing couple of moments over this weekend at a hotel we were staying at for a wedding.  We walked by the hotel’s lounge and there was a man there with a huge gut.  Quite out of the blue, Gabe said, rather loudly, “Hey MOM, that guy’s PREGNANT!”  Well, I tried to ignore what he said which was a pretty bad mistake as he kept repeating himself all the louder because he didn’t think I heard him the first time, “MOOOM….”  It was all I could do to muzzle him and get him out the front door.   I tried to explain to him that saying things like that were inappropriate and tried to explain the concept of being insulted… think I failed with that, too.  This has not been the first time he’s brought the concept of men being pregnant as he has frequently expressed his belief that HE was pregnant just because he ate more than usual, gaining a pretty big belly.   He’d lift up his shirt, pointed to his belly and say, “MOM, I’m almost pregnant~!”  Now, THAT was funny.  Still, I had a hard time explaining that men and boys do not get pregnant, only women.  He’s not asked me what exactly that is “yet”, and I’m grateful.  After I thought I did a decent job explaining that men do not get pregnant, I was validated because the next day, we saw that man again and Gabe said (all too loudly), “MOM, there’s that man with the BIG belly~!”  Um… Yep.

Still, the incident, not surprisingly, had me pretty upset even though I tried not to impress that upon him, I’m sure that I did.  I’m maybe too obsessed about weight, or looks being singled out for laughs.  I’m quite positive that wasn’t the intent, but I’m still pretty sensitive to that and don’t want Gabe growing up, insulting people no matter what the intent.  He needs to learn this very differently than most kids do.  Even though we know that autistic children can learn social manners, it’s not so simple.  They do not pick up on social cues like the rest of us can, instinctually.  They need to be presented with the concept and they learn it much like an academic lesson in school and they need to practice it over and over.  They may never empathize, but they can learn to understand intellectually how important it is to learn and practice; but they may never truly “feel” that importance.  I’m not even sure that Gabe will ever learn to walk in anothers shoes, which has always been important to me, in my learning.  I always felt the need to REALLY understand things and, indeed, I’ve rarely followed through with  anything unless I truly understood to my own satisfaction the importance of whatever it was.

WHAT ARE SOCIAL SKILLS?

Social Skills are a set of behaviors that allow a child to get along better with other people.  A child with adequate social skills can adjust well to changes in his environment and can avoid verbal and physical confrontations with other people. A child who has poorly developed social skills, however, may have poor self-esteem, may display conduct problems (fighting, arguing, defying adults), and may have difficulty developing peer relationships.

WHAT IS A SOCIAL SKILLS GROUP?

Social skills groups focus on teaching children a variety of social skills to help improve their ability to make and keep friends, develop more self-confidence, and behave more appropriately.  Role-plays and group interaction will give the children opportunities to practice these skills during the group session.  The therapist will utilize behavioral reinforcement to promote rule compliance, participation, and use of appropriate social skills, while also encouraging and reinforcing the children to practice these skills outside of the session.  Objective information regarding the children’s behavior will be gathered before and after the group to measure the children’s progress and parents will be provided with written feedback at the conclusion of each group.

We are truly blessed to have gotten Gabe into a social skills group.  Please see the above for a good description.  This is where they learn behaviors which are so-called socially accepted behaviors.  The problem is that though they may try to interact with their peers, they never learned how to do that, as other children have learned and that is by picking up on the silent social cues and body language.  They don’t intuit what is the appropriate, recognizable response or non-response to what the other child/peer displays.  Also, Gabe’s group is a group of peers.  They see it as play and I’m sure Gabe thinks it’s a play date.

Gabe is seven years old now and maybe that’s too young to learn about how/why a person can be insulted.  I ended up repeating myself about the man maybe getting insulted, but then I realized that he probably has no what that would mean.  I am dedicated to keeping open communications with him.  He knows that whatever his question is, I will listen and I am frequently urging him to share his thoughts.  He knows that I will urge him to just tell me his thoughts.  Most times I’ve got to admit that I don’t really understand what comes out of his head, but I’ve learned to ask questions so that he’d have to elaborate on what he’s thinking.  I’ve also had to learn when to just let it be when that doesn’t seem possible.  Sometimes I grieve for the lack of communication and understanding.  Lots of times I feel a total disconnect.  I grieve because I’ve always dreamed of being a mom much different from my own mom.  She was totally unapproachable and I never opened up to her or she to me.  My dream was to have a totally different relationship with my children.  Open communication all the way.  If you can’t do that, what the heck kind of relationship IS that, anyway?  I am learning that Gabe conveys more to me than words ever could.  He is my teacher and has been from the first moment he took his first breath.  That is a post within itself.  So, Gabe is teaching me that not all relationships are the same.  Huh?  Didn’t I know that already?  Apparently not.

One last paragraph.  There are so many facets to Autism.  Just like the disorder, itself, there are so many areas of specialty, so many areas that really need to be improved, that really need the attention of the professionals and people just like you.  It’s totally overwhelming, so I take it in little bites.  The area I find myself focusing on lately is how badly our teachers NEED to be educated about autism.  Yet, our schools will fight to the death to stay in denial.  They refuse to acknowledge that intervention services are needed for the autistic child to get an “appropriate” education.  Forgive me, but mention the word “quality” and “education” together and you can kiss any intervention service good bye.   Does that make sense?  I have to ask because I’m not college educated, you know.  Total idiocy!  No matter how much compassion a teacher has, if he/she is not trained to recognize and deal with any problems that arise, not given the strategies they need to handle the tough situations, they will just end up feeling frustrated and might even label a child with a negative label, even… YES… even the label of BULLY.  This of course, would most likely stem from ignorance, but does anyone want this to happen?  I know I don’t.  My own son could be labeled as a bully because he tried, in his own “socially unacceptable” way, to make friends with another boy or just trying to get someone’s attention, again in his own way.  Maybe that need for attention was misinterpreted as bullying…. and I do see how that can happen.  I can see my son being confused and feeling rejected and may be even push the other kid in an attempt to gain their attention and maybe friendship.  Nobody and I mean nobody would see it that way in the mainstream world.   I’ve been through a rough patch lately with a mainstream mother verbalizing in front of me that she would not want her typical kid in the same class as my little guy.  That hurt a LOT.  It was only after a lot of hurt that I realized that she was probably severely uneducated, maybe misguided  even as she strives on a daily basis to project her highly educated personality.  The sad fact is that EVERYONE is in dire need to be educated, teachers, typical children, typical moms and dads.  So, maybe my focus should be on wholesale education for everyone… you can’t be overly educated, can you?

Just Playing


I actually just needed something to post in order to try out something, but this poem has a special place in my heart.  I was honored to be chosen to read it to the PTO luncheon gathering at the end of Gabe’s first year of pre-school.  It swelled my heart to the point of bursting then, as it still does today.

Just Playing
By Anita Wadley

When I’m a building in the block room,
Please don’t say, “I’m just playing”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play
About balance and shapes.

When I’m getting all dressed up,
Setting the table, caring for the babies,
Don’t get the idea I’m “just playing.”
I may be a mother or a father someday.

When you see me up to my elbows in paint,
Or standing at an easel, or molding and shaping clay,
Please don’t let me hear you say, “He’s just playing”
For you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m expressing myself and being creative.
I may be an artist or an inventor someday.

When you see me sitting in a chair
“Reading” to an imaginary audience,
Please don’t laugh and think I’m, “just playing”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I may be a teacher someday.

When you see me combing the bushes for bugs,
Or packing my pockets with choice things I find,
Don’t pass it off as “just playing.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I may be a scientist someday.

When you see me engrossed in a puzzle,
Or “plaything” at my school,
Please don’t feel the time is wasted in “play”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m learning to solve problems and concentrate.
I may be in business someday.

When you see me cooking or tasting foods,
Please don’t think that because I enjoy it, it is just “play”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m learning how my body works.
I may be a doctor, nurse, or athlete someday.

When you ask me what I’ve done at school today,
And I say “I played,”
Please don’t misunderstand me.
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m learning to be successful in work.
I’m preparing for tomorrow.

Today, I’m a child and my work is play.

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