Archive | Offspring: ecstasy and agony RSS feed for this section

If you need some distractions

Yep, I know what today is. Nope, not gonna talk about it. There are plenty of places you can go to get that, today.

What I’m offering, instead, is two different distractions if you need ‘em. Because YAY, shiny and less-depressing things!

First: My latest post at Alpha Mom is all about teaching teens to think about money, even though mostly what my teens think about money is, “Mom should give us more of it.”

Second: I’ve been given the privilege of doing some collaboration with the National Center for Learning Disabilities, which does all sorts of awesome things (and I would say that even if I wasn’t working with them). I think that when you say “learning disability” most people think “dyslexia,” even though there’s a plethora of learning differences which includes things like ADHD, Autism Spectrum disorders, and more. The NCLD is interested in hearing more from other parents. If you have a child with a learning difference, what types of resources would you find most helpful in making sure your child receives the best education possible? Everything shared here will be passed along to the NCLD to assist them in improving their offerings. (Please share this feedback opportunity with others who might have something to say, too, even if they’re not blog readers. All input welcome!)

Comments { 17 }

Points for honesty

The adjustment to the new school year has been… well… a little rocky. It’s been a month, so you’d think things would be evening out about now. Of course, if you actually knew my children, you’d realize that one month is about enough time for all unaddressed issues to come to a glorious, face-melting head of WOE and GNASHING OF TEETH, and that’s pretty much exactly how it went.

[Related: I have never wanted a long weekend to end as badly as I did this past weekend. Instead of feasting on charred meat, we spent our extra day wondering if we could, perhaps, just move away when the kids weren't paying attention. But apparently that's "bad parenting" or something.]

Anyway! We are ALL ABOUT the now-dreaded phrase “skills building” here at Casa Mir. It is SKILLS BUILDING to work on consuming your dinner as if silverware is not a foreign concept. It is SKILLS BUILDING to be instructed in the fine art of putting dirty clothing IN the hamper instead of NEXT TO the hamper (I have never understood that). And it is most definitely SKILLS BUILDING to learn how to make checklists for yourself if you have the attention span of a fruit fly and are constantly in trouble for forgetting to do things. (more…)

Comments { 44 }

Totally on top of things

Because I know everyone is terribly concerned about the state of my bladder, I’m happy to report that all is well. I am also somewhat perplexed to report that—after going to the doctor first thing last Wednesday morning for this issue—I didn’t get a call from the doctor’s office until the following Monday evening to confirm that yes, indeed, my urine culture had grown bacteria and I had an infection. (To my credit, I didn’t respond to that with, “No, REALLY?”) I mean… nice of them to let me know… three days after I finished the antibiotics. When I questioned the need for the call at all, the nurse said, “Uh, well, we wanted to make sure you were feeling better.” Thanks?

In other, unrelated, news: Nothing in the world makes me feel dumber than parenting teenagers. Seriously, Mother Nature is a stone cold bitch, making babies all adorable and kids intriguing and delightful and then being all, “HAHAHAHA, you’re all invested in these people who just TURNED INTO SOUL-WITHERING ALIENS! Suckers!!” I hear I’ll become smarter again in a few years, but in the meantime, oof. Sometimes I write about stuff to remind myself that I am not a complete failure when it comes to them. For example, today on Alpha Mom I share that I am pretty good at getting my kids to do their chores, and I don’t scream or beat them or anything. So I’m still stupid, but at least we don’t live in squalor. (I’ll take my points wherever I can get ‘em.)

Comments { 5 }

Here, have all the Band-Aids

I’m sure this will come as a complete shock to anyone who’s been reading here for longer than a day or two, but Monkey has a small group of friends with whom he gathers every few weeks to play Dungeons & Dragons. This band of merry nerdlings is made up of the nicest kids imaginable with even kinder parents, and we especially appreciate having this group now that some of us are no longer at Hippie School. With Monkey truly homeschooling most of the time this year, every get-out-and-be-social opportunity is even more important for him more than ever before. And he just really loves D&D and these other boys with his whole nerdy heart.

So yesterday was a D&D day, and we dropped an excited, bouncy Monkey off at the hosting friend’s house, and then as I was back here at home riding herd on a certain other child who had a crap-ton of indecipherable homework, I thought, “Well, this is unpleasant. I’m glad this is the worst thing that’s going to happen today.” (When will I learn, Internet? WHEN? I should just go get on LinkedIn right now and change my job title to “Tempting Fate.”) (more…)

Comments { 21 }

Back in the saddle again

I’ll be headed into our first special education meeting of the season later this week, and it should be a real doozy. Chickadee’s guidance counselor has been changed, since last year, and she has a new diagnosis, and we want some additional testing, and… well, you know I always make cookies, but I think I’d better be certain to make REALLY GOOD COOKIES for this one.

I pull no punches when it comes to dealing with the school. Five minutes after meeting the new guidance counselor, I was saying, “Look, I’m going to be a pain in your ass. I know this and I’m telling you. I’m here to advocate for my child, and if we need something, I will be here until she gets it. On the other hand, I think you’ll find I’m pretty realistic about who she is and what she needs and what the school should be providing, and when everyone here does their job, I will be here saying thank you. Plus I make good cookies.” She looked a little scared. We’ll see how it goes.

Transitioning to the high school years when you have a kid with an IEP or 504 Plan is a whole new ball of wax, man. I’ve got a few quick tips on navigating special education with an older child up at Alpha Mom today, just in case you, too, recently realized how little time is left before college to teach your special snowflake how to be her own best advocate. (Hold me.)

Comments { 14 }

They refuse to stop growing

Last night at dinner, the following conversation occurred.
Otto: How was your day at school?
Chickadee: Terrible.
Otto: Really?
Chickadee: No. Just messing with you.
Otto: And how was YOUR day at school?
Monkey: It was good. How was YOUR day at school?
Otto: It went well. Thank you.
*here there was a pause, as everyone turned to look at me*
Otto: Do you feel left out?
Me: A little!

Of course, Monkey’s “day at school” yesterday was on the computer, but today, EVERYONE WENT TO SCHOOL. I’ve been alone all day and it’s rather glorious. (I’m hoping the new co-op goes well for Monkey, as I’ll be treasuring the one day each week where I don’t have to listen to Minecraft stories.)

This morning I packed lunches for my darling children, and then Chickadee put on her shoes to go wait for the bus, and because I was still barefoot, this made her taller than me. THIS WAS NOT OKAY. Shortly thereafter, Monkey put on his shoes, and that made him almost my height, and that was even WORSE. The saddest part about all of this is that I’m a dirty enabler, constantly FEEDING these kids and encouraging them to grow. I am ashamed. But not so ashamed that I won’t tell you how we do it, because misery loves company.

Comments { 10 }

I think this is the end of an era

I made the homeschooling child get up early and put on shoes, much to his chagrin. Chickadee was already up, maybe a little nervous, maybe a little excited, but saving us from the “I’m NOT A MORNING PERSON!” slog for this first day back, at least.

It’s the first day of 10th grade, and—as the saying goes—what a difference a year makes. Thank God.

For those paying close attention, you may note that this year, Monkey’s shoes are slightly larger than Chickadee’s. Next year when we do first-day-of-school pictures, I think he’ll be taller than her, too. I’ve been telling her for years to enjoy being taller while it lasts, but I think she’s never really believed me that her days were numbered.

This morning was calm and ordinary and unremarkable—just one of those everyday miracles. I had the passing realization that Monkey will pass Chickadee’s height by this time next year, then nearly burst out laughing at what a normal thing that was to think about.

Today’s a good day.

Comments { 36 }

The giant calendar will save us all

Today is the first day of Monkey’s last year of middle school, such as it is. (“Such as it is” because homeschooling does not include the typical hallmarks of those hallowed middle years such as gum on the underside of your desk, stolen lunch money, and being knocked into the lockers every so often.) This is a sacred and serious occasion, which we are marking by… ummmm… well, I should probably wake him up and then figure that out. I am TOTALLY on top of things, as you can see.

His online classes “open” today, and then our new homeschooling co-op starts next week, and everything feels familiar yet different and I am very busy NOT NOT NOT thinking about what we’re doing next year for high school, which of course means I am obsessing over it to the point where if it was a scab, I would be a bloody mess with MRSA by now. (You’re welcome for that visual.)

But before the start of school, we decided to go have one last hurrah in the woods. As you do. (more…)

Comments { 30 }

I don’t know how this happened…

… but school starts next week. I mean, that should be illegal, right?

Monkey is embarking on his last year of middle school (!!!) and Chickadee will be a sophomore at the high school. I… may need a moment here. It never seems to matter that I’ve been with them for their whole lives, the fact that they’re lurching towards adulthood always surprises me. Like, isn’t he just four or five? And she’s only seven or eight, I swear.

Anyway. The back-to-school dance feels a little more serious this year, so of course I wrote about it for Alpha Mom. We have some big decisions to make, soon. And really, how am I supposed to do that when my kids have rudely grown up against my explicit instructions??

[Unrelated, but kind of not: Yesterday marked a milestone that delighted even Mr. I Never Want To Grow Up, maybe because it struck him as hilarious. Guess who's now taller than his therapist? Summer growth spurts are amazing things.]

Comments { 10 }

“All kids do that”

I went through a long (longer than I will admit) period of time when the phrase “all kids do that” made me furious. Irrationally, completely, insanely full of RAGE. It seems to be used, most often, for someone to dismiss a special need or parenting concern with a not-so-subtle overtone of “you’re overreacting.” To be fair, I think many purveyors of this dreaded phrase are trying to be… comforting? Supportive? It isn’t always meant as “calm down, crazypants.” Sometimes it’s meant as a kind of solidarity or empathy, a sort of “I feel you,” albeit one that rings hollow because they don’t, not really.

As I’ve grown older, as my kids’ needs have changed, and as I’ve come to hate people less (ha), I’m realizing that “all kids do that” comes from a place that means well, more often than not. Lots of times it’s true that “all kids do that,” and it’s just that the degree/severity/frequency is the part that’s different and/or troubling. There’s nothing to be gained by believing that my special snowflakes somehow out-special someone else’s. Any common ground is worth having.

That said, you show me an organized teenager and I might have a bridge you’d be interested in buying. Yeah, my kids are probably more disorganized than most, but today at Alpha Mom I’m talking tips for teens who need organizational support, and I think they can be used for just about everyone. After all… all kids do that. (See what I did there…?)

Comments { 16 }
Design by LEAP