Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: 7 Days

In seven days, the driving instructor's job will be done.

In seven days, she will begin driving with us.

We do hope that in seven days she will forego her penchant for driving over curbs.

And, no. We have no intention of correcting her belief that the speed limit in the neighborhood is 15 mph.

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Monday, September 27, 2010


One of our first indications that something was amiss came as a result of a decision we made to enroll him in a sport.  It was a short, 6 week, no-pressure class and we were sure that, just as his siblings before him, he would be thrilled to finally be on a team.  On the first day of the class, when it was time for him to hold the floor hockey stick, his reaction was to freeze.  It was alarming as he stood rooted in one spot in the center of the gym while other three-year-olds ran and played around him.  He stood there and stood there.  Immobile. Eyes glued to the floor. Shoulders hunched.  Unable to respond in anyway even when Checkered stood next to him and tried to help him play.  He wasn't being stubborn that day.  He wasn't being just a shy boy.  He absolutely could not function nor could he communicate verbally with us in any way.  That was the last time we tried to engage him in a group sport.

 At school and other social situations, he isolated himself every chance he got physically and emotionally, even going so far as to pull himself into fetal positions in group settings.  In kindergarten, he always maneuvered himself until his back was against a wall. In first grade, he often chose to be in the coat room rather than with the other students. Our precious, beautiful, sweet boy.

During first grade, an exceptionally compassionate teacher repeatedly and gently told us that she was concerned.  Our boy did not want to engage in conversation with other kids, he spent recess walking around the perimeter of the playground - hood always on even in hot weather, hands in pockets - sending his message that isolation was what he wanted.  He was an easy target for bullying that year.   Even though I knew something wasn't right, it took that teacher and Checkered a long time to get me to acknowledge that we needed help.  And so began a long round of exhausting doctoring and treatment. 

Each doctor reached a different diagnosis and recommended different treatment, and still our child flinched if another child touched him, rarely showed emotion, and greatly concerned his parents. 

We repeatedly asked the Lord to send us to the right doctors.  We needed help.  And the Lord heard our prayers :)
After a lot more doctoring and a good year with an intuitive second-grade teacher, our boy is a new boy.
This eight-year-old has friends.  He has had three sleepovers.  He has played tag at recess this year.  He is getting better at communicating what he is feeling and we are better equipped at helping him understand why he feels that way at times. He doesn't prefer group social situations, but he is learning coping skills. This perfect boy. Our gift from God.

Do you want proof that our child is making progress?

This month, he ASKED to join a tackle football team.

We signed him up for a flag football class.

And although it was painfully difficult for him to walk into the gym and join the other boys there, Checkered was able to take his hand and help him.

Our boy ran the drills and did great!

When the class was over, the stress was apparent in his eyes which were filled with unshed tears, and he told us in his own vernacular that it was overwhelming BUT he has agreed to go back next Saturday!!!

Thank-you, Lord, for your continued graciousness toward our boy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

FF: Perspective

One of the biggest lessons of my middle years has been the awareness that perspective influences everything.  For example:

 My seventh grade son fell off his bike near school this week only to be assisted in his recovery by a very pretty and popular eighth grade girl.  I saw that as an opportunity for him.  He saw it as mortification.

I've never liked being a little older than my husband.  I get to every benchmark birthday first and find that to be uncomfortable.  But then Aging Mommy called me  a minor-league cougar.  I LOVE my new label.

I decided to get a second part-time job since full-time jobs are not seeking me out.  The warehouse job sounded great: flexible schedule, lots of work through Christmas, very little cognitive effort, and maybe even a store discount.  Then I read the part about having to climb a 12-foot ladder.

Checkered used to come home and be a little disappointed when my dinner plan involved just pancakes.  Now I find that if I tell him I am determined to spend no money on groceries this week, pancakes sound pretty good to him.

Our daughter's first day of driving was survived by both student and teacher.  She seemed quite surprised that the accelerator didn't have to be pushed all the way down for the car to move.

During those driving hours, she could not find the turn signal.

And those two previous items make me wonder what the driving teacher means when he refers to our daughter as "Killer."

Again perspective: this same daughter tells us that the girl she is taking lessons with would be a "really good driver -- if she could just stay between the lines."

My fifth grade son was very disappointed that his fellow morning announcers at school were all girls.  Then again, he said he is is shopping around since he plans to have a girlfriend next year. So maybe the girl crew is okay.

I heard a sermon recently which, while I agreed in principle, I did not agree with many of examples.  Afterward, my friend called and said, "Wasn't that dynamic?" 

This week my daughter has been asked to Homecoming by three different guys.  All via texting. 

It is, indeed, a new generation.

Mommy's Idea


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fess Up!

I'll admit it: I'm curious.  More specifically, I'm curious about you, my virtual friends.  We see only little glimpses into each other's live through blogging, but it's the details of your life that pique my curiosity.  So will you indulge me a little, and widen the computer screen just enough so I can more clearly understand who you are?  Let's start here:

~Do you return your cart to the cart corral after you're done shopping?

~Do you floss every day?

~Have you ever ignored a call after seeing the caller id?

~Have you ever used the last of the toilet tissue and NOT replaced the roll?

~Have you ever bought pre-cooked food and passed it off as your own?

What?!  You think I should answer the questions, too??  Okay.  This is who I am:

I ALWAYS return the cart.
I do floss  - contrary to what the hygienist believes :(
Perhaps...but my greater vice is NEVER returning phone calls
Having been caught without, I cannot leave a bathroom unpapered.
Yes - in my immature youth, of course. To this day, there is one person in our area who thinks I make a fantastic Cornish game hen.

Now your turn (and then why don't you join me at this new blog hop?) 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Forecast for Detroit

The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world's joy.
                                                                                                           ~Henry Ward Beecher

What a glorious gift and healer a day of sun is. It can make all things right - for a short time at least.
May there be some form of sun in your life today (and maybe a little sunscreen, too.)




Monday, September 20, 2010

Ready, Set, Go

When our daughter was in preschool, the teacher got frustrated during story time one day.  In frustration, she sent all the students to their tables to put their heads down.  There was only one child who was not sent to the tables: our girl.  But our girl didn't understand.  She thought she was the one in trouble because she was singled-out and forced to sit with the teacher on the rug. She was embarrassed to think that she had done something wrong, but had no idea what it was!

When our girl was in fifth grade I thought I should prepare her for what she would see when the maturation movie was shown.  When we talked, she said, "I already know everything.  Hannah told me some of it in first grade and Katie told me the rest in third grade."  We talked more and I learned that she really did know everything.  (The one boy who passed out while they showed the movie was less fortunate.)


Our precious girl is in another time of great transition these days.  Today is her first day behind the wheel in driver's training.  Homecoming involves a guy this year (although they are meeting at the dance??) She's made several out-of-state trips with her church youth group.  Her academic demands and performance have increased. Our last shopping trip was completely amicable. And she thinks she's ready for a job.

Although I still see her as the preschooler who just wishes that she could be at the tables with the other kids, I know she's more like that fifth grader who already knows far more than I realize. 

Why didn't you all tell me that my daughter's fifteenth year would be such a transition for me, too?
These stupid, stupid hormones of mine!

Friday, September 17, 2010

FF: Choosing to Smile

In class a while back we were discussing the concept of continuous and continual.  I asked the students for an example of continuous  and a girl answered, "My period."  I actually blushed and then I felt sorry for her because she was either very sick or going to fail the vocab test.

This week's teaching goof was that I thought  I wrote "frag" on the board.  You know it!  I really wrote "fag"  AND referred to it several times without seeing the mistake.

At the beginning of the school year, I invited myself on my daughter's 10 minute walk to the bus stop.  She told me she didn't need me, and she didn't.  I went anyway.  That walk has become absolutely precious to me now as we walk and chat.  Now it's my daughter asking every morning at 6:25, "Ready?"

I used to do my best to avoid seeing or hearing Michelle Duggar on television.  Ironically, I intentionally never miss that show now.  Okay.  I'll admit that I respect her.

Just so you know, I do love Fresca.

And the final fragment: we went to Curriculum Night at our boys' schools this week.  At the end of the evening we were looking at the writing samples in our youngest son's class and found our son's paragraph on the wall.  It was a beautiful tribute to his dad and listed all the ways his dad showed love. By the end of the paragraph we had misty eyes ... when ... oops, we discovered that there are two boys in there with the same first name.  OUR boy wrote about Niagara Falls.

Now, come on with me and let's go blog hopping.

Mommy's Idea


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dear Walmart Cashier,

I learned a lot about business from you today.  I learned so much that I'm giving serious consideration to making some changes in the way I handle my own job.  So as of tomorrow, there will be a new and improved Dr. Caution in the classroom.  Here are the changes you've influenced.

~  Starting tomorrow, I will refuse to greet my students as they walk into class. Instead, when they smile at me, I'll glare back so that they know how I really feel about having to work.

~ I will sigh very loudly once class begins and before I do any work. It's best that the students understand how annoying it is for me to work with them.

~Once class is really underway, I shall begin to work as fast as I can so that the students can't get all their groceries on the belt quickly enough  can't get all their notes copied before I erase the board.  If they can't keep up with me, I'll roll my eyes at them.  That will surely motivate them to move more quickly.

~ I will be certain to refuse to tell them how to write the next assignment.  If they really want to know what they owe me, they can just read about it in the syllabus.

~I will make every effort to put their fragile essays in the same bag with a wet gallon of milk.

~And when it's time for me to assist them with gathering their belongings at the end of class, I will begin to thoroughly inspect my nails until they have completed my their task.  At that point, my nail inspection will be finished.

Thank-you, Ms. Cashier, for helping me to reevaluate my own job performance.  I am hopeful that if Walmart's success is any indication, I will be the wealthiest part-time teacher in town by tomorrow night.  Of course when that happens, I'll be able to shop at specialty food stores. 

Karma's crazy like that sometimes.

Your 8:30 customer who was the ONLY customer in your lane

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lesson Learned

It was the night before the first day of school when she learned that not all leggings should be put in the dryer. Her mother laughed uproariously.
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Friday, September 10, 2010

FF: Where are you, Emily Post?

It would appear that I am less etiquette-savvy than I might have believed just a week ago.  While I am quick to nag update my family on all things manners, I now find myself in embedded in situations where I am not certain of the correct response.  Perhaps you, dear reader, might be willing to help.  For example, what would  YOU do if... witness a neighbor boy quietly making fun of a physically challenged student? find yourself engaged in conversation with a stranger who thinks she knows you, but is mistaken in that thought and doesn't  realize it?

...a conference begins with the other person saying, "Oh boy! Here comes a hot flash." adult student repeated approaches your lectern while apparently unaware that his fly is, shall we say, gaping?

...Google Earth takes a picture of your house for all the universe to see, but you may have parked your car crookedly the day the satellite image was taken?

...your child's doctor launches a blob of spit while talking to you and it lands directly in your eye?

...despite the doctor's best efforts, your husband has terrible insomnia and if he succeeds at falling asleep, will awaken if there is any noise or motion in the room,  AND your bladder is painfully full about 2:00AM?

...if a long-ago acquaintance calls your phone up to three times a day  every day, and you strategically do NOT answer until stricken with guilt you give in one day only to hear, "Hi. I really don't have anything to say..." detest Weight Watchers?

...your child asks if your family is a bomb-making type of family?

So, dear reader, if you have advice, I am ready to hear all. Until then, I will be found commiserating with these fine people:

My Wee View


Mommy's Idea

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No Sounds of Silence Here

Last night, the eve of a new school year, I sat in the back yard and listened to the sounds emanating from the open windows of my house.   It said a lot about the people who live there.

I heard:

*my husband typing and deleting and retyping his response to a neighbor who was confused about Cub  Scout matters,

*my daughter phone chatting with one friend and simultaneously Facebooking with 600 of her other closest friends,

*my oldest son murmuring into his earpiece with  his buddy who lives a half-mile away and who was playing the same video game,

*my middle son taking a two-minute shower because he doesn't like being upstairs alone and then rushing to watch Adventure Time,

* my youngest son taking a much longer shower and then coming downstairs smelling suspiciously dirty and appearing completely dry,

*and my youngest son taking a second shower.

All while I processed all these sounds that define my family, I could think only about how high our next electric bill will be.

Friday, September 3, 2010

FF: Closing out the season

~My youngest boys put a black light in their room this week, and I shared their disappointment when the dog's white chest failed to glow.

~We bought an electric smoker a while back and I'm convinced I don't know what I'm doing with it.  The ribs from the restaurant are just so much better than the ones I make.  Please, please, please help me by telling me how to make better ribs.  Did I say please???

~Some neighborhood driver has installed a train? truck? fog?  horn on his car.  He likes to test it during the night.

~We went for a walk the other night and crossed paths with another family. We stared at each other while we disentangled our dogs and then went separate ways, but then we crossed paths again at the end of the our walk.  Checkered and I admitted to each other that they looked familiar but we didn't know who they were.  Our son reminded us that it was the same family we had camped with for AN ENTIRE WEEK-END earlier this summer!  I feel better knowing that they didn't recognize who we were either!

~On Sunday, during what should have been a very special service for a beloved former pastor who is very, very ill, my eyes kept shifting to the backsides of various women.  I was fascinated by the way so many of those backsides don't really fit on the chairs.  Then I tried to discreetly measure my own backside.

~Coincidentally, I'm getting serious about Weight Watchers again next week.

Until then, I'm going to party!!! Join me??

P.S.  Happy birthday, DAD.  You're a wonderful man and a great dad.  Love you!!

Mommy's Idea




Wednesday, September 1, 2010

ABC: Greener Grass on the Other Side

We believe in allowing our grass to go dormant during the hot summer.  We believe it's a more natural and healthier way to care for our yard.  It's our own little way of going green.


We would love to have a green yard, but I ran over too many sprinkler heads with the mower and they're too old to replace easily. Thus, we no longer have a working sprinkler system.

Fortunately for us, our neighbor does and he waters about four times a day.  Graciously, his watering overshoots the yard boundary by about three feet giving us our very own three foot strip of green grass.

Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side, and for about three feet on our side?  It's just as green.