Monday, December 18, 2006

Let's See If I Can Stay on Track Again

Image Hosted by Last time I made myself an outline I stayed, relatively, on track. Think I can do it again? Hmmm...I want to tell you about so many things that have been going on, that I think I should make THE LIST again. Darn, my snowman's not moving. Well, you get the idea. Ok, let's see - what do I need to tell you about?
Scouts and the camping trip
SmallBoy & school (OY)
Christmas chaos
Cookie Day
I think that's it! Let's start at the top - and I don't know that these are in order at all:

The first weekend of the month, PC & ET took SmallBoy on a campout with the scouts. The Boy Scout troop invited all of the boys in SmallBoy's age bracket (Weeblos I & II) to join them on a camping weekend. They planned on doing many activities to help the boys earn badges - and lots of them. From our den, only three other boys/dads went on the trip, as it was RIDICULOUSLY cold - my guys were brave! From the Weeblos II den, a few other father/son teams went along, including the man who, until last year, used to be the Scout Master of the whole pack and his son.

When my guys finally arrived up north in Woodstock, IL, they were ecstatic to be alive. The snow had hit two days before, but up in the rural country of the campgrounds, the roads were barely passable and they thought the certain death was imminent. As they exited the snuggly warmth of our little Honda, they were slapped across the face with the cold biting winter wind reminding them that, indeed, they were roughing it for the next 24hrs. My guys were prepared, dressed in layers and "toughness." They schlepped their gear to their cabin, geared up for the day, and headed out to meet the boy scouts of our troop. Their journey into the "arctic," as it seemed, came to a temporary screeching halt as a troop of boy scouts pulled up to the cabin, also to unload. These scouts had previously given up their reservations due to the weather and now, apparently, had changed their minds. Good, caring gentlemen that our troop are, offered to share the cabin, which had two separate floors, and plenty of room. The other troop was thrilled, and began to unpack their cars, from which they carried in at least 10 television sets, multiple video gaming systems, stereos and mp3 players - all contraband in the eyes of the scouts. Clearly this troop had no intention, whatsoever, of "scouting" for the weekend.

Giving it only a second thought, my guys continued on with their days. There wasn't much going on in the way of earning badges, but the boys were outside having fun. They did, however, hone their hunting/seeking/retrieval skills through a 3-Man Slingshot challenge. PC, ET, and another dad took frozen oranges and shot them out of a 3-Man slingshot into the deep deep snow. They scouts were instructed to follow the orange by sight, and then to listen for the thud when it hit the snow. Then, they were sent to retrieve it. Not an easy job in 2ft of snow out in the country, but they had fun. Sled hills, snow, boys - yeah, lots of fun, minimal badgework.

Unfortunately, SmallBoy got targeted by Former ScoutMaster (who is NOT a very nice man, thinks he's a drill seargent), AND Son of Former ScoutMaster. The son is a year or two older than SmallBoy, and they go to school together. This child has a reputation for harrassing other kids, pushing them around, and just being a general pain in the behind. This child also has an underlying learning disability, so, being the open minded person that I am, and not his parent, always turned a semi-blind eye to the behavior (shame on me). That is, I always turned one until now. The boys were down at the bottom of the sled hill when one scout came back up and told PC that SmallBoy was crying and he thought that SmallBoy was hurt. As it happened, this was the scout's way of indirectly ratting out Son of Former ScoutMaster who had SmallBoy face down on the ground grinding his face into the ground. PC didn't even hear him screaming until Son of Former ScoutMaster lifted his head up for a brief, oh so brief second, so that he could breath, and then promptly smushed him back into the snow. Where, oh where was Former ScoutMaster? In the cabin playing cards with some of the other fathers. Another lovely incident was when the boys were actually outside working on a badge project. SmallBoy told PC that he needed to use the bathroom. PC told him that he had to go to, and that he'd go with him. Well, Former ScoutMaster, abusing his former power and his "power" as the only leader there from our Pack, told my SmallBoy, "You're not going anywhere. You PISS IN YOUR PANTS!" First of all, NO. Second of all, NO. Thirdly, NO! You don't tell a child, especially one that doesn't belong to you, to PISS IN HIS PANTS. You don't tell MY child, with or without an accompanying adult, to PISS IN HIS PANTS. You don't tell YELL at a child on the spectrum, you don't SWEAR in front of all the other boys, you don't humiliate MY son, nor do you outrank my husban who is with my child and knows exactly how to take care of him.

The next incident was at dinner. The boys were all neatly lined in 2 lines waiting, believe it or not, quietly, for their food. Mr. Former ScoutMaster decided that he did not like this arrangement, made the executive decision to make it a single file line, then grabbed MY SON and another young boy by the scruff of the neck and told them that they had to go to the end of the line. Again, a child on the spectrum who is at the beginning of the line AND being patient and quiet is a very wonderful sight to behold. YOU DON'T MOVE HIM. Also, you don't GRAB a child, particularly a young one, and one who is behaving, by the scruff of the neck and yank him out of line. It's been a couple of weeks since this incident and I'm STILL FUMING. Later, Son of Former ScoutMaster told ET that he didn't like SmallBoy because he was stupid and an idiot. Honestly, I don't know HOW ET held himself together and didn't just go off on this kid - perhaps because, being a phenomenal father himself, ET is smart enough to know that know matter how much of a jerk someone is, particularly a child, you don't go off on them. I can't remember exactly how he responded to this boy, but it was completely in defense of SmallBoy along with a "don't you ever...."

OH, I almost forgot about the other troop with the televisions and video games. Loud boys upstairs. They stayed up, well after our troops had lights out, and played video games, loud music, furniture rearranging, jumping, you name it, until 3am. When the guys arrived home the next day and relayed the goings on to me, I was LIVID. I am not one to put up a stink to a higher-up, but this time it involved my child. That's going over the line. I got on the phone with the current fantastic ScoutMaster who has a son in SmallBoy's class, has different issues, but uses the same OT as SmallBoy, ScoutMaster who understands SmallBoy and treats him with equality, but with the little differences - and respect, that he deserves. He was livid. ET wrote an email to the Boy Scouts of America who assured us that this would be looke into. Boy do I feel like I opened a nasty can of worms. We get to spend two of the nights this week at scout outings with Former ScoutMaster and Son. Should be interesting.

SmallBoy & School
Meltdown city. Oh LORD! School's been incredibly trying these last couple of weeks. I have spoken more in the last two weeks to SmallBoy's teachers than I did all of last year. My poor guy has just been having such a difficult time. He's not been wanting to do the work, he's been complaining that it's either too easy or too hard, he's not been wanting to do the assignment as given, but his own way. He's been exploding in class and the kids, who have been SO incredible with him, are now all afraid to even speak to him for fear that he may blow up again for reasons unclear to them - and even to SmallBoy.

We all know that with a spectrum child, meltdowns can come on out of the blue, or over the smallest little thing. We also know that, odds are, it isn't the smallest little thing that causes the melt down, it just happens to be the spark on the powder keg that's been waiting to go off, filling more and more with powder - enough to fuel a HUGE explosion. I've been at my wits end, trying to hold it together and not burst into tears at the office after talking to Mrs. M. I've broken at home, only for a bit, to let a little bit out, whild trying to remain "SUPERMOM". I've lost it at home, melting on my own - venting at everyone in my house for stupid stupid things - things like, "Mom, I need posterboard tomorrow," (oh crap, she really does), things like, "Geez, will you look at the calendar?! How are we supposed to be in all of these places that require us to be there all at the same time? And HOW, if we're supposed to be in those places, are we supposed to get our holiday shopping done? Our laundry done? Our house clean? My flat tire changed? Homework done? Lunches made? Spend time as a family?" Oh my head hurts.

My poor guy has been having his own struggles and meltdowns and, without realizing what I was doing, he's been stressing out worrying about ME. My Not-So-SmallBoy has been worrying about ME. Love him to pieces. He's worrying about himself, about making friends - he's feeling the "excommunication" from the group, he's associating that with what Ex is doing to him, he's struggling with reading comprehension at school, and now he's worrying about me. What a schmuck I am. Totally unthinking sometimes, but I am so grateful to have a family that will help me see what I'm doing and where I'm going.

SmallBoy and I increased our intensity on our reading program that we're doing at home. I'm not sure if I posted on exactly what we're doing, but we're using one of the programs that we do at our center at work, and helping him learn to visualize and make pictures for everything that he's reading. This will help him to build comprehension skills in order to understand what he's reading, and to build an even greater vocabulary. We were doing it just a little bit, which, I should know better, isn't nearly enough. Now we're working on our own little deal: He works really hard and gets x amount of stars. If, by the end of the week he has earned 50stars, he gets to teach me one of his video games. This works out well for both of us because I'm teaching him, and then he'll get to teach me. It's just really really been breaking my heart to see him hurting like this.

Christmas Chaos
This should be a little shorter of a blurb. Are YOU done yet? Religious affiliation aside, everyone celebrates SOMETHING this time of year - Solstice, Hannukah, Christmas, Kwaanza - all of which involve preparation of something, joining with loved ones, sharing of something, usually, some kinds of formal ceremonies - be they at church, temple, home, etc....This year, we have Christmas parties, Christmas baking, elongated Christmas celebration, transportation of the children ON Christmas, deciding who will have them when and how they will get where on Christmas when we're not even certain what time we'll be where on Christmas. And that's just Christmas DAY! Christmas Eve, SmallBoy will sing with the youth choir at mass and I'll be the cantor, so we'll be singing together. Then we'll be having some family over and beginning a new tradition. Christmas Day, we'll do our thing in the morning, Meem & FIL's for food and gifts, then to my aunt's for more food & gifts, then home to collapse. Day AFTER Christmas, we'll spend at Dad's with KR and then bring KR home with us for 2days!!! WHOOT WHOOT!

If I live that long, I have a feeling I'll enjoy it. I haven't finished my shopping, and I still haven't shopped for my mother, my sisters, my father, my father's wife, ET - and I think I still have some stuffers to get for the stockings - OH GOD! I haven't found the stockings yet! And I have NO time this week. Tonight - Scouts/Basketball Game/Reading with SmallBoy/Passing out. Tomorrow night - basketball/Reading with SmallBoy/promoting Code West's gig for Saturday night/passing out. Wed night - Basketball, something get the idea. Somewhere in the spare moments between all of these activities and the important things like sleeping, eating, bathing, and just plain dropping dead, I can find time to do all of the rest of the stuff that still has to get done - oh yeah! And I have to color my hair and find time for haircuts too! EGADS!

Dear Santa:
All I want for Christmas are a few more hours in the day and an extra day on the weekend that are reserved soley for me, that cannot be taken up by obligations for OTHER PEOPLE, other things, work, or anything that I do not care to do. I have been a very good girl this year. This gift does not involve spending any money or creating a brand new toy or video game. I would say this is a relatively simple request. Thank you for taking the time to carefully consider my Christmas wish.
Yours truly,

Saturday, in the mail, I get a letter from my mortgage company telling me that because I had a nasty little spell with paying for my house, that my escrow is so far down, they are now DOUBLING my mortgage payment, effective Feb. 1. First of all, this house is so NOT worth that amount of money each month. Secondly, if I really and truly could afford to spend that much money on my house each month, I'd live on the richy rich side of town...or at least in a larger house in the comfortable side of town. Can you say REFI????? Seriously, do mortgage companies actually think people will settle for this and just pay it? No. But I've got to do it fast, cuz Feb 1 will come up soon. I don't make that much money in a month. Seriously, I need to sell my house, but it's not ready to be sold, plus stupid Ex will put up such a stink that it would be unbearable if I tried to leave this town of "wide lawns and narrow minds," (E. Hemingway on this town in which I live).

Electrician is coming tomorrow to see what he can do to fix this awful thing. Our house is still on the original fuses and is totally stupid. Our house is sinking on one side, my stairs are falling apart, my garage is falling apart, my insurance company changed my policy and now, get this, they no longer cover any damages to the house caused by the weather - so if a tree falls on my house - nope, if we have a tornado and my house blows to Oz - nope, if we get so much snow that my roof collapses -nope. Can they DO that?????????

Cookie Day
We made scads and scads of cookies, I took scads of pictures. We baked from 10:45 until 6, propped the TV up so that we could roll and decorate cookies while watching the Bears almost blow it against Tampa. We made Grandma Rosie cookies (secret family recipe, roll out dough), butter cookies, gingerbread cookies, butternut snowballs, peanut butter kiss cookies, apricot delights, almond crescents. There were about 21-25 of us (and we were missing several people), and we rolled and decorated and spritzed and baked. I tried desperately to post a slide show of the pics, but they moved my entire blog around.

Cookie day was at my mother's house this year, we rotate every year. My mother lives across the street from a forest preserve. As we were walking up to her house, we noticed a few deer at the edge of the forest. Surprisingly, they stuck around all day. We all walked down there at one point or another over the course of the day and looked at and admired them. I believe there were five total - 2 bucks, 2 does, and a fawn. Amazingly, the bucks were not fighting. (I know, could have cropped a little better, but forgot). We arrived at around 11:15 and the last time we saw the deer outside - you could see them just by looking out of the window, was just before it got dark. I'm impressed, and surprised that they hung out that long.

These are just a smattering of our end result. We baked. A lot. Of Cookies. Somewhere in my spare time, I will bake some more, when, though, I'm not certain. To more pics from cookie day, either peek over at the sidebar, or, to see them larger, head over to my myspace blog, where the slide show is considerable larger in both height & width. I think I'm finally done with this post now. I stopped in the middle of the Christmas Chaos part, went home from work, snarfed down some food, did some reading work with SmallBoy, went to scouts, came home. It's now 10:00. I think that I may just go crack a beer (another beer) and go color my hair. Of course that means, no sleep until at least midnight, but then at least I will have THAT done! EEEEEK. Ta Ta my Friends. Sleep tight.


Laura said...

Gee, and I thought my constant hives from the cold was bad. Glad you wrote to and complained to the Boy Scouts. That kind of behavior is so unacceptable. Kudos to ET and PC for bringing SmallBoy to the campout and for making sure people didn't step all over him.

Good for you as well for recognizing where SmallBoy needed help and where YOU needed help, and making changes.

Incidentally - your cookies look lovely. I am terribly jealous.

Also - good luck with your house. Home ownership can be a great big gaping hole of suck sometimes. I am frustrated waiting to find out what is happening with my street so I can move off of it. Luckily the prior owner took really good care of it. Without of course notifying me that at one point it had been hit by lightening.

Will be thinking good thoughts for you! Hang in there! I hear Abba is good for relaxing during these sorts of things...

mcewen said...

Jeepers Creepers - that is one STACK of cookies! I'm so glad I wasn't brave enough to post a picture of our wonky [kit] Gingerbread house - I blame the architect not the contractor. Wishing enough sugar crystals for a snow storm. Best wishes

Kristina said...

Oh boy----we have been having holiday school trouble too (as in Charlie got off the bus and fell asleep for several hours; the nurse called to see if I had given him cough syrup). It never rains but it pours!

Gorgeous cookies----what we all need to get through these days.