January 28, 2007

Please don't feed the animals

It is absolutely as a last resort that I am instituting a new household policy: no gifts, prizes, incentives can come home with Hart and Jeff.

I don't want to be ungracious . . . so many of you have been so generous with the boys. I am trying alleviate some of the sturm and drang at our house.

Some of the trouble is the boys' unhealthly competition with each other, so there's crying, teasing and retaliation over goodies and toys that come into the house. In some cases, they just aren't able to care for these precious items and it becoms a disappointment.

(I spent hours trying to reglue Hart's ceramic Columbian bus back together. Some of you will remember the sad fate of Jeff's toy limousine.)

I hope I can count on your cooperation. My message to the boys is that any items they earn at school must stay there. Apologies in advance to Yu-Gi-Oh and car lovers everywhere, the newly-traded items have to stay at your house!

Sincerely yours,
I.A.T.M.M.I.T.W. *

*I am the meanest mom in the world.

January 18, 2007

A Big Brawl!

Jeff was working on his spelling homework, words with either /au/ or /aw/. Suddenly he dissolved in a fit of giggles.

"What's so funny?" I peeked over his shoulder at the list of words: awful, because, braun, draw, launch . . . brawl.

"It’s not what you think. That’s a fight with many people, not underwear."

January 13, 2007

Homework Hell

When it comes to homework, most parents of special needs kids will confess to a frequent desire to pop their kids upside the head. If nothing else, it might knock some new neural pathways into place.

"The silent E makes the vowel say its name," I say to Hart frequently. Blank stare. "Long A says 'ay," long E says 'ee,' long O says 'oh'." No flicker of recognition.

It was an insight when a friend told me recently of supervising her daughter's math homework. "This is 3rd grade math, you know," she said to her 7th grader.

"Really? It's so hard, I though it was high school math."

January 12, 2007

Caution: Driver Singing

H: Mom, don't sing. You can't sing that high. This song is for a young girl.

Alas, too true.

Cups Redux

I have lived with Hart and Jeff a long time, and I grew up with my mother, so I am very tolerant of weird behavior. What I cannot tolerate is anyone who tries to convince me that aberrant behavior is not aberrant. To put it bluntly, don't piss on my head, then tell me it's raining.

I have gotten much less patient over the years. I have talked to many adults who deal with special needs kids and they all have horror stories about parents who forget to mention a few important tidbits about their children before sending them to summer camp, Boy Scouts, kindergarten. When the inevitable phone call comes, the parents either sheepishly confess that they thought Joey could try a summer without his medication, or become defensive and angry.

Frankly, I would love to try that. The constant due diligence I do on the boys' behalf is so tiresome. I used to case out any new place in advance taking Hart or Jeff there. I'd love to just put them on the bus like everyone else, wave goodbye, and hope for the best. But I know better. I am all for inclusion and diversity, but I practice full disclosure first.

So I have been ruminating about how to smooth things over with my mom and step-father after the imbroglio at their house. In the interest of full disclosure, I wish she had just said, “We have this freaky thing with our dishwasher. So just bear with me. If you want something to drink while you are here, bring your own glass or put your name on a Dixie cup.” What I resent is that earnest look to imply, “You use your dishwasher to clean dirty dishes after you use them. Now that’s really crazy!”

LegoManiac (photo)

Jeff and his amphibious submarine design

January 5, 2007

(Not) Roeper and Ebert


H: There was too much inappropriate stuff.
L: I guess. I thought it would be like CHICAGO, singing and dancing. We enjoyed that, and that movie had inappropriate things . . . dancing girls and guns.
H: Too much, and too much swearing. I had to do this. (Demonstrates folding his toy elephant's ears down.)
L: Good to know. We'll see CHARLOTTE'S WEB next.