I got a compliment today from a co-worker. She asked how I seemed to keep such a good attitude through the crap that we've gone through lately (long story short, Kenin's $78,000 hip resurfacing resulted in a fractured femoral head and he'll probably have to have a TOTAL hip replacement next week to 'repair' the damage. Kenin's boss will refuse to pay him (again), so we're going to be screwed (again). I told her that I just figured that with most of the crap we've gone through, there's not a damn thing I could've done differently, so it's not worth worrying about now. I guess it could be denial of reality on my part, but I think that everything works out the way it's supposed to in the end.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
As I watched NBC's The Biggest Loser and ate my Ben & Jerry's Creme Brulee ice cream tonight, I began to wonder if I was going to take the direct do-not-pass-go-and-go-directly-to-jail route to hell or if there might be a pit stop along the way where I could buy more ice cream.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
What's irritating Betsy the most today, you ask? Why, thank you for your concern. Sit back, relax (believe me, I'm stressed enough for all of us), and let me climb aboard the soapbox.
Tuesday night the following email was sent to me from an administrator at my school (names have been omitted to protect the not-so-innocent):
I'm reading email and apparently there is some unsafe behavior going on in
some of our classes on some days. Because we are a Love and Logic school
this does not mean it isn't "so sad when you hurt another child" because there
are definite natural consequences that go with being unsafe in school. The
natural consequence of unsafe behavior is no participation with other
students for a while and a plan of action. We have ----- and I to help
facilitate a plan of action session with any child and he is happy to make sure
kids communicate this to their home - via a phone call. We are still
progressive here at ---. Parents are still our partners.
I sent home a kindergartner the other day, early. The child and I called
dad and said, "Oh, this is a bummer. School ends early since your child is
making it so other children are not safe." Dad came to pick him up.
Chaos is not Love and Logic. Kids recognizing that the expectation is the same - safety and respect is love and logic. If they chose to act differently, it's a
bummer because there is always natural consequences to face. Let ----- or
I help you. --- and -------- can help too! We are here to work with kids and, of course, we enjoy playing with them too.
Today, during PE, a 2nd grader put his hands around the neck of a classmate, in a choking action. This happened about 10 minutes after he had another classmate in (what looked to me to be) a headlock. While returning to class after PE, he punched a classmate for no reason. Less than an hour later, in another unprovoked attack, he hit another classmate. After losing 5 minutes of recess because of his earlier behavior, he continued to throw rocks after being warned not to and began swearing on the busy, packed playground. He was sent to the office for a 5 minute time out (his 2nd in 3 hours) where he almost tore a poster from the wall and then played with the miniblinds on the window. There was no call to mom or dad and no communication to them of his behavior other than a note that he "had a rough day".
Are you kidding me???
The reason this kid is still at school is because he has Down syndrome. He's very high functioning, but because he has Down's it's "okay" that he does all this and more. At least that's how the school district sees it.
Now, here's the other side of the coin: I have a 23 year old son with Down Syndrome. He's labled 'profoundly retarded' (yes, I know i said the "r" word) and is on about the level of a 36 month old child. When Patrick misbehaves, he knows there are consequences. He knows that if his behavior warrants it, he may get popped on the hand, he may have a favorite toy taken away, or he may get a spanking. The point is, my kid knows what behavior is acceptable and what is not, and he's WAY lower functioning than this other kid. This is not to say that Patrick is an angel all the time, because he isn't. But he damn sure knows that if he acts out, he will face the 'natural consequences'.
I'm so sick and tired of parents of special needs kids who make exceptions for their child's behavior because little Johnny 'doesn't know any better'. Give me a break! With few exceptions, yes, Johnny DOES know better, or is at least capable of knowing better if you choose to teach him. One of the most important things, if not THE most important thing, that a parent must teach ANY child is what is socially acceptable behavior. It's no more okay for Patrick to throw a temper tantrum than it is for my non-special needs kids to throw one. What is going to happen when that 2nd grader punches someone and the other kids punches him back because he or she is sick of getting hit? In my experience, many (if not the majority of ) special needs kids don't have the ability to navigate the gray area that the rest of us has. They don't understand that something is okay in this situation, but not in that situation. Things for them usually need to be either black or white, not somewhere in between.
I feel that the school (and this child's parents - but that's a whole other story) are doing less than the best for this child. And gawd knows I'm a less than perfect parent, but when that child is a teenager or an adult and is still going around doing this type of behavior, who will be to blame then?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Okay, okay, I admit that I'm in that .05% of the population who's actually had good experiences with lawyers, but that's mainly because I'm always right, and they're smart enough to choose to be on my side. But this latest lawyer, the one who shall remain nameless because, hello, he's a lawyer? You know that one? Well, he sucks. While the intellectual in me rarely makes an appearance, that part of me popped out long enough to recognize that he gave me his honest opinion, blah, blah, blah. But what the hell?! I gave this man $300 so that he could tell me "No"? Shouldn't he be telling me a little more of what I want to hear? Gracious! Any one of my 4 children would've told me NO for free!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Over the last few weeks/months, you've been pretty stressed out, what with Kenin's surgery and his work status and your work and all. You're beginning to eat more of the junk you should be avoiding if you want to make it to that weight loss goal of yours, your school work is way more work now than it's ever been before, and gawd knows, your sleeping habits aren't even habits anymore, unless you count the fact that you're barely sleeping at all. The thing is, you've got to let all the crap in your life GO. I know it's hard, but there's really nothing at all that you can do about the stuff other people do.
Sometimes you put up a pretty good front, but I think we both know that there's a good-sized hunk of denial in your line of thought. Yes, it's scary not knowing exactly what's going to happen from day to day, but it's okay to be scared. You are a control freak, but this is totally out of your hands. Your life could be a whole lot worse than what it is, even though I know you don't see that all the time. Things have been rough before and you got through them just fine, just like you'll get through this, too. Revel in the family and kids and Kenin and do what you often tell others... SUCK IT UP.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
A hundred years ago, or what seems like a hundred years anyway, I had a friend named Heather who was in The Nut House with me. She was admitted a couple of weeks before me and while we were in the locked unit, we'd have been best described as acquaintances. When I went to the completely-unlocked-live-in-a-cabin-in-the-woods-on-top-of-a-mountain unit known as North Campus, we ended up in the same 'group', called Wamika (supposedly that means "All Friends" in Cherokee (I think), but knowing the way things were around there, I wouldn't be so sure). She was fairly new to North as well, so after a while of settling in and most all of the 'older' girls (AKA those who have learned to play the game) leaving (left? whatever) and going home, we became friends.
Heather was such a strange friend for me to have because she was everything that I hated. Where I was a considered a pothead, she was a cheerleader. I was chunky, she was a size 2. She went to a posh private school; I went to public school. She was Mormon (although not the most practicing Mormon I've ever met), and I was pretty much an atheist at that point. The point is that we were completely opposite in our backgrounds, but somehow in that hellhole we became really close friends. She was my negativity buddy. Thinking about it brings a smile to my face because it was so much more than that. (No, you perverts, it was nothing like that so get your minds out of the gutter.)
Once we got our Crests ("An outward sign of an inward change" blah, blah, blah - I can't believe I still remember that), we didn't have to have group leaders accompany us everywhere, so that really opened up our 'world'. We didn't go places we weren't supposed to, but it was just the two of us alone and we'd talk about everybody - who was faking, who was lying, who was going to lose an upcoming homevisit, which staff members were lesbians, you know, just stuff. A major rule was that you couldn't talk to anyone in another group because you might get attached to them and focus on them instead of on your therapy, but when Heather and I went to school at Central Campus (aka WHERE THE BOYS ARE), we managed to group mix with not only the other girls who rode down there with us, but with several of the boys at Central as well. Heather was the one person I told when I accidently brought back a pack of cigarettes in my coat pocket from a home visit. We were Outhouse Pals! (Yes, we really had an outhouse, and it was 10 feet deep. How do I know? I helped dig it.) Heather and I were the only girls in the group who never had to have cabin changes (girls rotated among each of the 5 cabins in the group every 2 or 3 months), and in retrospect, it was probably because the group leaders probably thought that if we stayed together, at least we weren't 'poisoning' anyone else with our negativity. We, along with another friend, Ashley, called ourselves - in private, of course - the Third Triumvirate. How snooty was that?!
Long story short, Heather's 37th birthday is coming up next week. I haven't spoken to her in close to 15 years because we just lost touch, but a mutual friend passed along her address, so I think I'm going to drop her a line. So the next time you're having a little toddy for the body (or even just a nice glass of iced tea), think about someone in your life who made a difference to you and give them a toast, if for nothing else than old times sake.
A side note: you might think that I got in trouble a lot because of my very negative outlook/behavior, but in reality, I was very seldom caught.
I apologize for the massive overuse of parentheses, but there's a lot of background you don't know, so I was trying to fill you in.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
It seems like most every blog has a section like this so I decided to jump on the bandwagon, too. I did this partially so you can learn a little more about me, but more honestly, because right now I don't feel like taking the time to come up with something more original.
Have you ever...?
1. Bought everyone in the pub a drink - Nope, I'm too cheap/poor.
2. Swam with wild dolphins - Not yet, but I hope to be able to do it when I take Ash on a cruise after she graduates from high school.
3. Climbed a mountain - Yes, but not a big one. Technically, possibly not a mountain at all, but more of a foothill-type mountain. Actually, it was just more of a plain hill. But it felt like a mountain.
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive - I see this as an exercise in futility because I'm never going to be able to afford a Ferrari. Besides, I'm more of a Mercedes person.
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid - Too much sand.
6. Held a tarantula - No, but I've held a garden snake. Does that count?
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone - I have, and what an experience that was! If you want to do this, I suggest that at least one of you be of the petite variety, or let the hot tub be your bathtub.
8. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it - DUH
9. Hugged a tree - Not while sober.
10. Done a striptease - Definitely not while sober, and hopefully not while drunk.
11. Bungee jumped - Not even if I wasn't sober.
12. Visited Paris - Not yet.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea - How about from the balcony of a 12th floor room on the beach? Absolutely humbling sight!
14. Stayed up all night long, and watch the sun rise - On more than one occaision.
15. Seen the Northern Lights - On TV
16. Gone to a huge sports game - Not an experience I hope to have to repeat. Imagine the Broncos playing at Mile High Stadium for Monday Night Football. Imagine that it's 35 degrees, raining, and the wind is blowing. Now, imagine that the people you went with insisted on eating a massive dinner before the game and then wanted to drive their car instead of being smart and taking the free shuttle. Got it? Now, add the fact that there was a wreck on the way to the stadium and we had to park gawd knows how far away (all I know is that it was really, really far) and it was HALFTIME when we finally got to our seats. Yeah, not something I want to do again.
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa - Nope, not gonna happen. I swear that as stable as it may be now, the minute I'd get to the top, the whole thing would come crumbling down.
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables - When I was little my parents grew corn and I ate it. Close enough?
19. Touched an iceberg - Nope, not unless you count the time that huge chunk of ice cubes that got stuck together in the ice dispenser of my fridge.
20. Slept under the stars - Is in a camper under the stars the same thing?
21. Changed a baby’s diaper - Way more than one.
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon - One day.
23. Watched a meteor shower - What a cool experience!
24. Gotten drunk on champagne - Yes
25. Given more than you can afford to charity - Most days I'm the one who's in need of charity, but yeah, I've done that.