Ups and Downs

I am tired.  I am really tired.  Not just the “I said yes too many times tired”, or “the list is too long tired”, or “the when will I ever get caught up tired”; but the my daughter kept waking me up every 15 minutes since 2:30am tired.  Combine all of those states of tiredness, and you have my mindset today.  I am trying to stay calm and happy, and just get through it, but grumpiness took over this morning.

After saying good-bye to my dad (I miss him so much!), getting Scott to work, and running to the store for the necessities for today, I started cleaning.  I admit, when I clean, I get grumpy.  I curse the family and their dirty ways.  I curse the pee all over the bathroom floor AGAIN (Am I the ONLY one who sees it?).  I silent curse everything.  Then I curse myself for being ungrateful for a house of joy and happiness.  I curse myself for being grumpy because I am busy because God is blessing me with work, passion, and opportunities.  I should have turned on music, because when I clean with music, no one gets cursed.

Anyway, as I was scrubbing, the dumbest thing happened.  My cell phone fell out of my pocket and landed on my toes.  For some reason it HURT, I mean HURT, and now, hours later, it STILL HURTS.  Seriously, a CELL PHONE.  How?  Anyway, I cried out in pain because it hurt so bad.  However, my kids didn’t come to see if I was OK.  From another room, I hear, “Mom, what happened?”  However, finding out if I was OK, was not as important as the book he was reading.

Really?  I haven’t taught my kids to drop everything when they hear a scream???  Is that something that is taught?  Are my kids becoming good people???  Feeling like a terrible mom, and so alone, I finish the housework and move on to the next item on my list.

My son, comes to me with his money.  He wants to earn more today.  “I will clean the bathroom, fold the towels, and wipe down the toilet for you,”  he offered.

“Well, I already cleaned the bathroom and toilet today, so you can’t do those things.  However, I am sure we will find some chores for you to do this weekend,” I offered.

“Oh, OK.”  He left the room.

A few minutes later, he returns with a dollar.  “Here, this is for you,” he said.

“Why?  Keep your money.”

“Well, you cleaned the bathroom, so someone should give you money.  Thank you.”

That one tiny gesture was bigger to me than pee on the floor, ignored cries, and all of the other failings I feel each day as a mom.  I am not perfect, and I am not doing this mothering thing well most of the time, however, every once in a great while I get a sign that maybe, just maybe I am doing something right.

Tough Parenting Moments

Monday, after school, in a fit of frustration, my son declared, “I am sick of Fremont and Clarmar.  Why can’t I be anyone’s best friend?”

I paused, knowing he can be sensitive, knowing that he had a bad day/week/month, knowing that maybe it will be better tomorrow.  “What happened?”

“Well, sometimes it feels like the kids are mean.  They don’t really want to play with me.  They don’t want me on their team.”

“Why don’t they want you on your team?  Do you think you can relax about rules on the playground?  Can’t you let some rules slide, and it be OK?”  I asked him.  I know he can be hard to get along with.  I understand that playground rules are different from real life rules.  I know the kids have forgotten that he struggles with this, and it makes sense since they are 7.

“I try.  I try to be nice.  I try to change and act like them.  I try to treat them the way they want to be treated, but no one really likes me.”

In that moment, I pause, I want to cry.  I am sad and I am feeling like a terrible mom.  We are constantly helping our son change.  We are teaching him social skills and trying to help him understand how others think.  He works on it daily.  He tries.  Even when he doesn’t ‘get it’ he still tries.  I know kids get frustrated with him at times, and he knows it too.  He is trying and trying.

The thing I feel bad about: When do others have to change?  Why should he go through life wanting and trying to be different to act like someone else?  If we want him to feel good about being a person with Asperger’s, then we have to accept him, quirks and all.  Kids have to accept him, and others do too.  It shouldn’t be a one way road for this 7-year-old.

After my flood of thoughts and pause, I said, “Well if you are treating others the way you want to be treated, then that is all you can do.  You can’t control others and how they treat you, but you can control yourself and how you treat others.  If kids at your school can’t see that, and accept you for WHO YOU ARE, then they are not worth it.  You are a nice boy, who is trying very hard.”

“I wish that was easy,” he sighed.

“Me too, I wish it would get easier, but that is life, Buddy.  It’s just a stinky part of life.”

Upon hearing the word stinky, he smiled and laughed.  Toilet humor took over and our conversation was paused.  However, I can’t stop thinking about it.

I pray that I can successfully guide these two kids through life.  I pray they know they are loved and accepted just the way God made them, without letting their little quirks be excuses.  No one ever said that raising kids was easy, and unfortunately, I don’t think the lessons will get any easier.

Kids Give me Hope

I am so tired of campaigns, negativity on TV, news, and in social media.  It’s enough to make one crazy enough woman scream.  So, lately, the tv is off, Facebook is ignored, and life continues on.  I could sit back and think about the issues.  I could go on and on about how people’s view of education is wrong.  I could stand on a soapbox about many topics, but I won’t, at least not today. 🙂

Instead, I choose to focus on the little notes I have found lying around the house.  Ok, I finally picked them up off the middle of the floor after they had been there for too many days.  (Oh, the working mom’s house is back, and probably not going anywhere.)  I don’t know when they made them, but they did it all on their own.  These notes, give me hope, and make me smile.

Our country and world will be fine.  Education will be fine.  Our futures are bright.  Those are the lessons that working with children teach me everyday.

“I wish that there will always be freedom.” – McCartney

I can’t find the note that says, “I hope McCartney will always be my brother.” -Ana

“We all live in a yellow submarine.” -Ana 😉

“For Mrs. Beck, I like the Beatles. Paul, George and Ringo” -Ana

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Education at a Husker Football Game

Saturday night I was given the chance of a lifetime, I got to take my son to his first Nebraska Husker game. In case you didn’t know, my son is literally obsessed with sports. He loves all sports, especially Red Sox baseball and Husker football. Needless to say, taking him to the game was A BIG DEAL. Like all big deals, I had high hopes and dreams for the night, and I am certain I was expecting some magic.

I am not saying, watching the fourth quarter of the Wisconsin game live, wasn’t full of magical moments. The whole fourth quarter, McCartney and I both were hugging, clinging to each other, hoping for a win. The last turnover of the night, with a minute on the clock, was really awesome. There is nothing like the magical moment when you know your team is going to win. I am super grateful I got share those times with my son.

However, the things that left the biggest impression on my seven-year old, had very little to do with football, in fact, they had nothing to do with the game. Today, as I heard my son tell grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles about the game, I learned the lessons that my son is carrying with him from the game. Trust me, this list does not make me proud to be a Husker fan, in fact, I am a bit appalled. Some of these lessons are out of my son’s mouth and some are parental observations.

1. “Mommy, there are a lot of bad words here,” was something my son said over and over during the first half of the game. Night games, for some, means that they have a few six packs under their belts before they even go to the game. {Keep this in mind, for future points.} Yes, the naughty words were soaring through the air as the Huskers gave up play after play in the first half of the game. I tried to cover his ears, but that was so silly to even try. Once you take a kid out of the house, you can no longer shelter him. The swear words pretty much stopped once we started coming back in the third. (I have to say, there were words or combinations that I have never heard before, and now they are ingrained into my son’s head. Great….(she says sarcastically).)

2. “Why don’t these people ever sit?” A tired and frustrated seven-year old said five minutes into the game. Yes, Husker football games have more up and down movement than any church service I have ever attended. I forgot to prepare him for that. Oops!

3. “Daddy, I got to see a police officer take down a man with a taser!” Um, yeah, of all moments to take my son to the restroom, we got to see an assault of an officer and watch him take him down. I have no more words for that one….

4. “85,900 people is very crowded.” Husker games, where the stadium is the third largest town in our state on game day, is completely overwhelming, especially a kid who is sensitive to noise, and space. I thought his love of the game would trump that feeling.

5. “I would rather watch football at home than at the stadium. I learned that lesson tonight,” my son informed me of this in the second quarter. He then commenced in begging me to leave. I held him off until the fourth quarter, which was so exciting, he then wanted to stay. Whew!

6. “I didn’t know we could bring our own drinks in,” my son said as he watched a man pour liquid into his soda. I could have taken that moment to explain what a flask is, instead, I changed the subject. I figured he was already learning enough for one night.

7. “People mostly sit when the Huskers play offense, we have to stand during defense.” My son is always looking for patterns. I have never noticed that before. 😉

8. “It’s more fun when your team is winning.” At Saturday night’s game, we got experience plenty of both emotions. It’s so true, when the Huskers are winning the feeling in the stadium is indescribable, however when they are losing, it is quite the opposite. I have never seen the Huskers lose live, and I am glad my son hasn’t either. I can’t imagine.

9. McCartney is so fair when making calls, he could teach some umpires a thing or two. A few times I thought a person turned around to yell at him, when he was judging the calls on the screen. Luckily, no one was drunk enough to try to tell off my seven-year old. If baseball doesn’t work out, I hope he becomes a referee or umpire. He is very honest at making calls, even when it’s against his favorite team.

10. Even when he hates the loud noises, my son follows sporting events directions like a pro. He screamed his heart out when the screen said, “Make some noise.” And boy, he can out yell any drunk man any time, any place, any day.

Keeping in mind all of these life lessons, do I regret taking my son to the Huskers vs Badgers game Saturday night? No way! Despite the loud, crazy drunk people, the taser lesson, and flasks, it was so magical to sit/stand next to my son as we cheered on our favorite football team. It was a beautiful night, with lots of fun memories. I hope he eventually forgets about the swearing, yelling, and arrest, and remembers how much fun his mom can be!

Faith, Patience, and Determination

I held on tight, praying that disaster would not strike. “You might have this one chance to get it right,” I told myself. I said a prayer, and hoped he would not fall. One injury could end this now. Who knows when he would get enough courage to try again? It had been more than eighteen months since the last attempt. There was no choice but to succeed.

I held my breath, looked at my seven-year old’s expectant face, “Try not to think about it, feel it inside and trust that,” I said.

He hesitated, thought, and said, “Ok. I can do this.”

“You can do this.”

I held onto his seat, and one handlebar, he slowly started to peddle. He peddled faster and faster, I let go of the handlebar. Soon, I let go of his seat, and for 5 seconds he rode his bike on two wheels alone! My son, who had little confidence in his balance, fear of crashing, let go of his fears, and for an afternoon trusted God and trusted me. We rode up and down the street for another half an hour and then took a break.

Before the second lesson of the day, I remembered the day he begged Scott to take off his training wheels. Scott did and proceeded to give McCartney his first bike riding lesson. Less than ten minutes later, Scott stomped up the driveway, with a tearful 6-year-old trailing behind him. “He won’t go fast enough. He’s too scared,” Scott reported. McCartney put his bike in the garage where it sat for over a year.

My son grew, and the bike stayed the same. He is too old for Cars and the helmet, but we refused to buy another that would just sit in the garage. Another summer went by, and it stayed parked in the same spot, never to be moved. Scott and I were disappointed, but we let it be. Our kids are not ready, so we took the easy way out. We didn’t press it, we just let the time pass. His friends, younger cousins, and so many around him learned, but he had no interest.

“Maybe he won’t ever want to learn.”

“He has to learn to trust first. He can’t be afraid of pain.”

Yesterday, I looked out the window, and I saw my son, with his bike and a new look of determination. I went outside, “Tomorrow, I will work with you on riding your bike.”

“Ok. I really want to learn!”

Our second lesson of the day, began hours after the first. It was time to make dinner, dishes in the sink, laundry in the drier, but my son, said, “Will you please give me another lesson?”

“I need 5 minutes,” I said.

He sat on the couch and waited patiently. At the stroke of 5 minutes, he said, “It’s been 5 minutes, will you teach me now?”

“Sure, let’s go.” We headed outside. He quickly put on his helmet, and we coasted down the driveway. “Remember, try not to think, listen to your body. You can do this,” I coached.

Within a few short minutes, I was running along side of the bike, with one finger on the seat. “At some point, I will let go. I won’t tell you, you have to have faith, you can do this,” I told my son.

“Ok,” he said with a look of uncertainty.

We went a few more rounds, and I barely held on more and more. I had a moment of fear. “If I let go and he falls, then will be trust me again?” Earning my son’s trust for this event, was a big deal, I did not want to lose it. I quickly said a prayer, and as he gained speed, I let go and he went alone, the length of two yards.

“You did it! You rode alone!” I exclaimed.

“I rode my bike by myself? I did?” He yelled.

“Yes, you did! I am so proud of you and your hard work!”

We went a few more rounds, and before I knew it, he said, “You can stay here, Mom. I don’t need you.”

“Remember, you can do this. There isn’t anything you haven’t done alone. I know you can do it.”

The next thing I knew, he was riding up and down the block, alone. I watched and photographed, because that is what I do when my kids don’t need me any more. I document and revel at what amazing people they are.

We loaded up the bike, and drove to the lake. My son quickly hopped on his bike, that is too small and too young for him, and circled the lake, independent and alone. Three point two miles later, he said, “I am really good at riding my bike.” And he is. He can start, stop, coast, and use his break like an old pro. Scott and I are happy and proud.

Right before bed, he said, “I think God helped me learn how to ride my bike tonight.”

“Yes, Buddy, He did. We never do anything alone. God gave me patience, and you determination. Between the three of us, you learned how to ride your bike. I am so proud of your hard work.”

If only we could always let kids learn when they are ready. When it’s time for a child to take the risk to learn, it happens naturally. Grandma was right, “When a pumpkin is ripe it will fall from the vine.”

Magic of Childhood

My children, who talk about dead presidents and God with the frankness of adults, fully believe, with their heart and soul in magic. They believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, fairies, ghosts, witches and wizards.  They believe in the magic of life, the possibilities that anything can be true.

They have faith in God and the goodness of people.  They believe they should serve others, and follow Jesus.  They don’t cry out of worry, because they know that God takes care of them.  Their faith is strong, unbendable, unbreakable.  Have faith, is their simple belief.  Why do we grow out of that?

Yesterday, laying on my bed reading, Ana said, “I hear God’s voice at rest time at school.  I miss talking about Jesus at school.”

“What does God say to you?”  I wanted to know.

“I don’t know, but I hear Him and voices that say ‘Ana’ at night. Maybe it’s angels,” she said.

I love it that my daughter is thinking angels and not monsters. (Of course, she thinks of those too.)

To me, children are the real magic. Anything can happen, there are no limits, if you believe hard enough. They believe hard enough for us, with their whole entire heart.

People have told me, “I don’t know how you find the patience to work with kids.”

My reply, “When you take the time, to see the world of possibilities the way children do, how can you NOT work with kids?”  Working with kids is the chance to feel magic each day.

When you believe in magic, anything can happen, even a simple note from the Tooth Fairy appears.

Childhood is magical and perfect. Us adults have a lot to learn from those little wonders that surround us.

Oh, the Tangled Web we Weave….

I am at a loss for words. I know, right, so not like me at all.  Well, here’s the quick version of the story from today.

Ana and I were reading in my bedroom, when we heard,

“Oh, man, I lost a tooth!  I lost a tooth!  I LOST A TOOTH!”

Of course we dashed out of the room to find my son holding a pretzel in one hand.

“Well, where is it?”

“I swallowed it, AGAIN.” (Because this is not the first time his barely loose tooth randomly fell out while he was eating.)

Of course, his 5th loose tooth falling out became the topic of conversation ALL NIGHT, luckily it was 4 when it happened, so we could listen to him talk about it OVER AND OVER for HOURS and HOURS.  Which is why I STUPIDLY, suggested that he write her a note.

WHY? WHY? WHY????????????????????  Why did I do that?  I know him, I know he won’t write a quick note, but it will be full of questions, and he will want answers.

Well, when my son is going ON AND ON about a topic, my tired brain eventually goes into survival mode, and I often suggest he WRITE what he wants to say, which will normally promote him moving on to a new topic.  Well, that has backfired tonight because he wrote a note, and asked questions that NO ONE knows how to answer.

As he was plotting his note, I started thinking, “Tooth Fairy, what a STUPID idea.  Why do we even have it?  Who made it  up and why do we keep up the charade.  I totally get Santa Clause, that has backing, and promotes giving, but I totally don’t understand the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny.  What good do they really serve?”  I did Google the Tooth Fairy and I found a lot.  If you want to know what Wikipedia said, click here. [And if you are going to get pious on me and tell me that my kids should not believe in Santa Claus and company, I respectfully ask you to NOT bother.  We all have our reasons, you have yours and I have mine.]

Anyway, my son’s note, that he thought about for a LONG time says:

He also put together a snack, and left her instructions on where to put the money.  I watched the whole thing, in disbelief, thinking, “I am so glad that he left all of those questions for the Tooth Fairy to answer, because I am going to bed…”