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Five Ways My Kids Amaze Me (The Good The Bad and The UGLY)

1.) Their growth. I don’t mean that in the “look how tall he’s gotten” way. I mean growth in character, depth, soul.

I often say “Through struggle comes growth.” These boys of mine, man, they are doing a lot of growing.  They each struggle in their own way. I wonder so many times if I’m failing them in this way or that, but all I have to do is look back and see their growth.

2.) Their capacity for love.

Holy cow. These boys. They love each other more than I could have ever conceived. Maybe it’s because I’m an only child and all siblings have this kind of ferocious love for one another. I don’t know. But these two are something special together.

3.) Their capacity for enciting comedy of errors.

My life is a lot of things. Boring is not one of them. I find I’m split between almost always on the verge of tears or maniacal laughter. I now make inappropriate jokes about calling the hit tv show “Pit Bulls and Parolees.” It’s a joke, people. I don’t mean it.

4.) Their capacity for empathy.

These boys. Their hearts are huge. They hurt for the world at large, they hurt for their friends, they hurt for each other.

5.) Their capacity to make me go prematurely grey.

For real. Stop. Can we have one crisis at a time, please? Oh, the answer is obviously no? So, who needs some growth now?

Happy Friday y’all!

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Five Things My Kids School Gets Right

I’m very often guilty of focusing on the negative. It’s a bad habit of mine. In light of that, today I want to give you five things my kids’ school does right.

1.) 99% of the teachers are wonderful and understanding and teaching for the right reasons.  They get that every kid has needs that are different from his or her peers.

2.) The nurses at my kids’ school are amazing caregivers. They care for kids with something as simple as a bump on the playground, dispense sometimes life saving medicines and are sometimes just a soft place to land on a hard day.

3.) The principals are not just authority figures to the kids. They know almost every child by name. Do they dole out punishments? You bet, but the kids seem to know that they are a grownup on their team.

4.) My kids have PE three days a week. While they don’t always like the games they play, it’s so vital when kids only get 15 minutes of recess a day, weather permitting, that they have this opportunity to MOVE their bodies.

5.) Our school psychologist is a lifesaver. I’m serious. She sees my kid weekly for social skills and various other needs that may pop up, she conducts ARDs (Similar to an IEP meeting) in such a way that it’s not so bad, she makes sure each kid she sees is prepared for changes the following year, she’s a go between for parents and teachers, she has a stack of paperwork a mile high on her desk yet has NEVER turned this mama away when she needs an ear. 

There are more than five things my kids’ school does right, certainly, but this is a good start. 

Happy Weekend Y’all.

#FiveOnFriday

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Room

Blogging earlier  led to a lot of messaging back and forth with a dear friend of mine. She’s awesome in that she “gets it.”  We were discussing “balance.” Blah, blah, blah. How do we find it? Blah, blah, blah. We’d kinda taken a break from the convo to, you know, “work.” And, I had a thought. Just now. As I was washing dishes. 

I can’t even give my kid room to screw up without looking for a diagnosis.

I am so entrenched in this life of worry and what does it all mean that I can’t let my kids be kids and make mistakes. That’s a lot of pressure. For them and me. 

Could there be a diagnosis? Maybe. But I’m taking a step back and giving some room for errors.  I often say, “Without challenge, there is no growth.” Can’t the same be said for mistakes.

Wow. I’m smart.



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All Autism All The Time?

You know how I’m always saying it’s not all autism all the time around here? No? Well, I do say that. A lot. Sometimes it’s all about the NTish WeeOne getting himself into big trouble at school and wondering what int he world is happening here. The WeeOne has a temper.  I think I’ve told you about it before. I say temper, but I really feel like it’s frustration that exhibits as anger. Okay. Splitting hairs. He’s got a temper. We’ve worked with him on all the things we know to do that could possible help him:

  • Breathe in for five, out for five.
  • Imagine yourself using the force to control your emotions.
  • Count to ten.
  • Count backwards from ten.

This kid can meditate six ways from Sunday. But he just can’t control his temper. At home it exhibits as lots of yelling.  We’re not talking about the occasional shout of displeasure. Anytime there is the slightest hint that something won’t go his way, it is histrionics. Of epic proportions.

I thought Bigs meltdowns on his younger years were big. They were, but this kid’s tantrums are nothing short of impressive. Take for example the way he apologizes.  It’s hilarious from an outside of your body experience, but in the moment fairly painful. Picture it: mild infraction against him, usually greatly blown out of proportion on his part. Him:  HUGE reaction. HUGE. Yelling, crying, the works. Then, a mild reprimand for the overreaction.  The fun really starts now. You truly haven’t lived until you’ve had the cutest brown eyed boy scream, “I’M SORRRRY!  WHY WON’T YOU ACCEPT MY APOLOGY?!?! I SAID I’M SORRRRRRRYYYYY!” Insert much stomping and noise as a child of 8 can make.  Yes we’ve ignored. Yes we’ve reprimanded. Yes we’ve used positive reinforcement. We’ve seen a marked improvement at home. Then….da.da.da….

I pull through the pick up line I so often write about on my Facebook page. Big gets in (we’re just fresh off a doozy of a week the week before with him) happy as a clam. WeeOne gets in and immediately starts yelling at me. (No bueno.) I try calmly to tell him to chill out and quit yelling that no one is yelling at him, I need to drive safely there are tons of other cars around. Turns out he’s telling me that he’s in trouble at school. Big trouble. We tackle the unavoidable task of going to the grocery store. (That was fun.) We get in the car to find a voicemail from WeeOne’s teacher.  I call back. Yep. Trouble. Big Trouble.

What I gather is:  at the end of the day, as the kids are lining up to go home, WeeOne “thinks” the child behind him is digging in his backpack.  He physically felt nothing, he just “thinks” the kid is trying to steal from him.  WeeOne turns around angrily, elbowing the child in the stomach, knocking him down and making him cry. (UGH. Typing this out makes my stomach hurt.) We get home, WeeOne is seriously freaking out. This isn’t the I’m freaking out because I am scared of what punishment lay ahead. This is the I am disappointed in myself more than you will ever be freaking out. (Don’t ask me how I know this level of freaking out.) Punishments are decided and accepted relatively well, considering who they are dolled out to.

The next morning, I walk the boys in. Because it’s Thursday (I always walk the kids in on Thursday), and because I need to talk to the principal before she calls me.  When she sees me.  Do you know what she says? “Kristi, I thought I’d be seeing you first thing this morning. I have the WeeOne’s paperwork right here.” She assured me that knowing she’d see me meant she knew I cared and wanted to take an active role in school. (AKA I hover with the best helicopter pilots ever.) The principal and I discussed WeeOne’s punishment, agreed, and I went about my business.

When I picked the boys up, I asked how the boys days were. I was shocked(ish) to hear that the WeeOne enjoyed his day in In School Suspension (ISS); he said “I was able to do my work in two and a half hours, read and concentrate.  It was quiet and calm.”  At first I was worried (like a lot) about this statement. Really though, truth be told, a smaller, more controlled classroom environment would be good for this high expectation having NT(ish) WeeOne. It would be good for all kids.

I worried about all of this so much that I gave myself hives. (What does this say about me? No. Don’t answer that.) I worried that I’m missing something.  I worried that I’m ignoring something bigger. Then I broke down all the explanations (NOT EXCUSES).

  • He’s EIGHT and on a good day gets 15 minutes of outside time at school
  • Full Moon
  • It’s not easy being the NTish Brother of a Kid on the Spectrum
  • Winter-No Recess For At Least Two Weeks
  • Another cold front
  • He’s EIGHT

Don’t get me wrong.  If another darling child such as mine did this to MY kid, I’d be up at school the next morning. I KNOW this about myself.  I also know this. WeeOne is in no danger of becoming Dexter. Do we need to talk to his pediatrician to see if there is an ADD dx or the dx formerly known as Aspergers? Probably. But, in perspective, he’s a good boy who made a mistake. Is it worthy of consequences and discussion, yes! Hives? No.