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Posts tagged ‘High School’

Should he stay or should he go?

In May of this year, one of my dreams was realized. My oldest son graduated High School with Honors. It was a fabulous feat and I was so proud of him.

Nicky's crooked cap

Nicky’s crooked cap

Being a successful graduate may seem like nothing today, but I came from a family where I was the only person in the household that actually graduated High School. So, hopefully you can see where this was a proud moment for me 🙂  Nicky, true to himself all the way, was near the front of the line as the soon to be graduates walked down the path to the commencement ceremony. In true Nicky fashion, his cap sat ever so precariously atop his head…tilted. Now, just to make a point, you should know that many of the seniors decorated the top of their cap so they would stand out, make a statement, or be easily recognized by family. Some kids were wearing sunglasses, loud shoes or boots, neon clothing on their legs, rainbow-colored hair, etc. Nicky, bless his heart, stood out without trying (just as he always has). He couldn’t really be blamed for the crooked cap. We paid the ridiculous fee of $50 for the tissue thin cap and gown that he would “own” after the event. The gown survived the ceremony with only 1 rip in it, but the cap didn’t even make it 5 minutes before the lining unravelled and lost its shape.

My Boy :)

My Boy 🙂

My youngest son had a performance at the commencement ceremony with his choral ensemble group. His group was projected on the large screen that hung over the stadium. I dare say he was the most handsome boy in a tux present, but then again, I am a bit bias.

My beautiful boy with long hair)

My beautiful boy with long hair)

Our middle child was present to support his friends. He was somewhere in the massive audience of attendance. A couple of the boy’s sisters showed up to support him and we snapped a few memorable group pictures.

Family Shot

Family Shot

So, he did it! He graduated and I had all these grandeur ideas about life for him …and selfishly for myself.  Personally, I had already turned his bedroom into an office and was hoping he would seek the independence that most kids his age so desire. That freedom that comes when you live on your own and supper consist of ramen noodles, peanut butter sandwiches and bringing laundry home to mom on the weekends. I could so live with that!! You know, those days when you first discovered coffee & that the magic stay awake power it possesses to help you write that paper due at the last-minute? I was willing to help him out as he helped himself too! These were my expectations.

I had dreams of him getting a job (or at least helping around the house), going to college (which he is doing now), moving out (after accomplishing goal #1 – getting a job), and beginning his wonderful new life. Reality sat in after several weeks had passed and the only goal he had accomplished was beating several new missions in his video games with his friends on-line. The prodding began gently: “Nicky honey, have you been putting in applications for employment?” He would say, “Yeah, but no one will hire me until I’m 18 mom! Hey, what’s for supper?”  I would allow a week to pass. I asked nicely for several weeks and then frustration sat in. My husband began to bring him paper applications from every place he saw a “now hiring” sign. No progress. Soon, my gentle prodding turned into motherly nagging…daily. I reminded him school would start soon and that he was not going to get through life living for free. He said “Mom, I’m not 18. I’m not even legally able to give blood without your consent. Don’t worry. I’ll get a job after school starts.” I waited….and waited…and am still waiting. School did start. He had that life changing 18th birthday and now, he still resides at home…currently unemployed. He is doing well in school as far as I can tell though and I pray daily that he will seek employment soon. Some work experience is better than none, even if he only works 4 hours a week!

On a positive note, he has mowed part of the lawn a few times since school ended and did the dishes for about a week. Occasionally he’ll offer to help fold laundry. He is doing well in school as far as I can tell and I’m very proud of that! I pray daily that he will seek employment soon.

Don’t think me cruel, I want the best for him and obviously my nagging has gotten nowhere. I think he will be a very accomplished young man at some point in his life and hope I am alive to see it. I love him dearly and hope to post an update soon with something very uplifting and encouraging about his progress!

If anyone has any advice, I’d love to hear it!! Please, please, oh PLEASE leave advice in the comments section. I promise to try all reasonable advice given and report back!

Yours truly,

Chrissy

Holidays, ODD & family visits

This article is part 11 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9 , part 10 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In the last article I shared Knight’s journey up to week 26. He was not doing the best with authority figures (especially in school) but I didn’t mention his grades yet. Before he came to live with us, he was a low C to high F student. He had failed many of his classes in the other schools he’d attended. Now, he was doing better. The average grades he was bringing in were high B’s. Occasionally his grades would slip to low C’s or high D’s if he got lazy about turning in his work. We would issue reminders about his grades, offered him weekly updates on his progress and coax him into catching-up. By the end of his courses though, he would finish with a low A or high B. He really was doing better in this new environment.

Jumping forward to weeks 28 & 29, Knight completed 2 weeks without getting into trouble at school. I was extremely happy for him and attempted to shower him in praise. He was continuing his attempt to join the football team, but we didn’t have his paperwork complete at that point. He was pretty much benched to the side lines. His coach carried continued discipline into each practice and game if he’d been disciplined at school.  Football was good for him and in a few more weeks,  he would be cleared to officially join the team.

Knight was still hanging out with his friends and going to church regularly. He had attended Church camps, outings, retreats, and other special events  (which were all incredibly expensive). He would often speak about the Lord after these events and about how God was touching his heart. His friends were also encouraging him to stop cursing and doing the vulgar things which he had grown accustomed to in his previous life. Let’s face it, our kids will act one way around us and then another way around their friends. It happens. It’s just the way teenagers are. I was not blind to this. I was happy however that the friends he had picked were good enough to also issue him gentle reminders when he got out of hand in these areas.

Skipping ahead to week 32, this was the last week of the first semester for him in his new school. He had made it 4 weeks without acting out at school, but continued to tell me everyday that 2 of his teachers “hated him” and “had it out for him”. He was doing well in those classes though. On the last day of school, we all received a surprise visit from his mother. She drove in from out-of-state and said she wanted to take him for the Christmas break. He wasn’t ready to go just yet. She was traveling to another state also to pick up her daughter and agreed to swing by in a few days and pick him up on her way back through.

Knight left with her 2 days later, early in week 33. We allowed him to open some of his Christmas presents early since he would not be with us until after the New Year. We were all sad to see him go. Both of my boys kind of moped around while he was gone. They really did miss him. It was a realization for me that they truly had accepted him as part of our family now. Maybe they had done so much earlier than I realized? I don’t know. I couldn’t tell through all the arguments, disagreements, complaints from one boy to the next about each other. I was seeing obvious evidence of this now though.

Knight called often while he was away. He would give me an update on how he was doing (if he was being good to his mother and sister), and would tell me if he successfully avoided an outburst of anger. He also called to say that he missed us. By the end of the first week, he called to ask when he could come “home”. I reassured him he was not being punished and that his mother would be bringing him back soon – because school would start back soon. He said he wanted to be home by New Year’s Day so he could celebrate with us. I cried after our conversation. I’m not sure why I cried though. Maybe because I missed him too?

On the last day in week 34, Knight returned home. It was New Year’s Eve! He would get to be with us for New Year’s Day after all 🙂 A few days after Knight came home, Knight’s father received a call from Knight’s grandmother. Knight stayed at her house while he spent time with his mother and family. She remarked about the significant change in Knight. Actually, she was amazed that he was not the same boy at all! She said, “I’m not sure what you are doing with him, but keep it up. He was the most respectful child! He was a pleasure to have and he’s practically unrecognizable. You’re doing a good job. I’m proud of that boy!”

Even though this was not told to me, I found encouragement in her words. We were doing something right if others could identify a significant difference in him. I was happy for Knight and especially happy to have our family all back together again. 🙂

School Trouble – Oppositional Defiance Disorder

This article is part 10 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7 , part 8 , and part 9 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

As I mentioned in the previous article, Knight just started a new public school and had been warned about the zero tolerance policies related to defiance and discipline. Unfortunately, in week 22 he began to have issues. He came home complaining about some of his teachers. They were the bad guys because they fussed at him for distracting others in the classroom, talking, or being loud while the teacher attempted to teach the day’s lesson. Here’s how things went.

In week 16, Knight was continuing to make friends and had plans to spend the night over at some friend’s houses. He behaved well in other’s homes we were told.

In week 17, Knight developed interest in a church where his friends were members and begged us to go there. I had not been to this church in many years, but I knew what they believed, so we allowed him to go. He was in teenager heaven 🙂

In week 18, Knight began to share his total excitement with us and tell us how happy he was to live with us and happy about his “new” life. We continued to encourage Knight and reminded him daily (and our other boys) to complete their homework!

In week 19, I had noticed a significant difference in our overall family life and noticing the difference in each boy individually also.

In week 20, Knight was still attending church and visiting with his friends pretty regularly. Most of his behavior issues had disappeared and our only real problem was his occasional back-talk.

Ups and Downs

We experienced a slight set back in week 21 when Knight had a slight blow up. He blamed his behavior on being tired. He found himself grounded for a few days. His behavior changed and his punishment was lifted a day early.

Early in week 22 Knight called me from school and told me he was in trouble. I asked him what was going on. He told me he had been suspended for 4 days out of school. He also mentioned that, “He didn’t do anything” and that it “was not his fault, it was someone else“.  Sound familiar? We were literally about to ride this same coaster again! It seemed as though only a few short weeks had passed since we had begun to work on taking ownership and responsibility for actions with him. He had done great – until this.

This left me puzzled. 😦 He seemed to do better with authority figures that he got to know personally. Life cannot be lived this way though. It would be impossible for Knight to get to know every single authority figure in his life personally.

I spoke with him about the importance of doing as the teachers ask while in their classes. We talked about respect and if he was to receive respect he had to give it first.  He said everyone hated him and that all his teachers were out to get him. Everyone else was causing disturbances in class too according to him. He simply was the loudest and the one called out for it. He neglected to tell us he was the leader of the disturbances though. (This we discovered through speaking with his teachers that “hated him”.)

Knight’s father was very upset that he’d been suspended. I haven’t told you all the details of the suspension, but let’s just say that the things coming out of his mouth were directed toward a female and were totally not tolerable (again – here is that zero tolerance policy). Knight and his father were told that there could not be a next time in this offense category. A next time would take him completely out of all public schools.

Knight went back to school in week 23. Knight was warned again about the zero tolerance policies (both at home and at school). Knight said he understood. Weeks 23 & 24 seemed to be getting back on track, until week 25. Knight came home from school with an in-school suspension slip. He had made noises in class (distractions) and when called down, he back-talked the teacher. He served out his sentence at school and was grounded at home from all electronics. (I took all power cords and chargers instead of the actual devices. He got to slowly watch the batteries drain knowing he could not reconnect or charge anything.)

Week 26 produced more issues. After that first horrendous event that resulted in out of school suspension, the school had agreed to evaluate him for an IEP. Knight was placed through a series of tests. He spoke with a psychologist and so did his father. All of Knight’s teachers were interviewed and all of his previous school records were being reviewed. The 2 previous schools he attended had him in *special* classes for learning disabled children because of his inability to control his anger and outbursts. Knight was not learning challenged or disabled though. That was obvious to this new school, but not his father and mother. Outsiders looking in can see things differently because they are disconnected from emotions surrounding circumstances. Basically, Knight had been given a free ride for many school years and this school was simply not into free rides.

I asked Knight if he remembered me telling him that this school would not treat him any differently than any other student. He said he remembered. I explained to Knight that he had no choice now but to begin accepting responsibilities for his actions and needed to put self-restraint he was learning into practice at school. I don’t think he liked the idea, but knew what I was telling him was true. He spoke of how much he loved the friends he’d made here and how much he wanted to stay. I told him only he was in control of the outcome. He understood he had to change his defiant personality and learn how to be compliant at school just as he had done at home.

It was tough for him. It was in the nature that he had developed over time to be defiant of everyone and everything in every situation. Showing him examples of how he had been able to do it at home allowed him to see how it was possible to do it at school too. I asked him if he was defiant at church. He said he was not. I asked him if he defied his football coach. He said he did not. So, he’d mastered 3 settings and saw that it really was up to him to master the 4th one – school!

What Are You Looking At?

Yesterday, after school, we attended a football parent meeting. It was a mandatory meeting for all players in all grades of the High School and was very informative. Since we have 3 boys attending (1 played last year & 2 will play in the Fall) we never thought a thing about attending.

It was a good meeting – very informative. I’m new to this whole kid playing sports thing because X & Z never played any sports in the past, but Y who came to live with us a year ago has played sports his whole life. All I knew of sports from last season was the endless shuttling of kids from one place to the next, sitting in the stands and washing uniforms. Y moved in with us in the spring and just joined right in with the existing football team, so we missed any and all parental information meetings last season. Shoot, we never received any communications from the coaches or anyone else except Y. This year is different.

Anyway, after the meeting was a “cook out” which consisted of hot dogs wrapped in aluminum foil, tiny bags of chips, water, and cookies. There was no seating, so we all just stood around and ate off paper plates and looked around at the other people, kids, coaches, etc. interacting or just standing around like we were.

I noticed several “clicks” or grouping of people who must have known each other from the previous years. My husband hasn’t lived here long, so knew no one really, but I have lived here my whole life. I went to this school. I saw a few people who I knew. And surprisingly something happened.

Memories!

Since hitting my head a while back and losing a ton of memories, I get super happy when some return! They were pretty happy memories too. I remembered the wings/halls of the school (which classes were where) and began to remember some happy, funny, or eventful events that occurred 🙂

I guess I was kind of zoning out after a few minutes because I suddenly realized my husband was talking to me. Listening intently, I tried to catch up on his conversation when I noticed over his shoulder that a group of women standing behind him were staring at us. There were 4 women in this group. The one in the front was covering her mouth and she spoke to the other ladies as she cut her eyes toward us. At several times our eyes met and locked on each other as she continued to talk to the other ladies. She would slant her eyes our way, nod in our direction and point with her elbow. Basically, she did everything except point a finger at us.

I looked back at my husband who thought I was upset about something and was refusing to look at him as he spoke to me. He walked away from me for a minute. I looked him over to see if he had toilet paper stuck to the bottom of his shoe or his fly was open. Nope. Nothing there to see. I found no reason they’d be staring at him, so I examined myself. I’m always dressed modestly, so I had no body parts playing peek-a-boo, no spilled ketchup running down my shirt, nothing on my face, and my hair wasn’t sticking up in an odd Something About Mary way.

My husband came back to where I stood and we spoke for a little longer. I glanced over his should a few more times and then it hit me! Bad memories…Not my memories though. I thought about the horrible stories about kids making fun of other kids, bullying and such 😦 I’ll admit that when I was in school I had my fair share of insecurities, but I was never bullied at this school over them. In fact, at this school, every kid is just…a kid. There were a few small “clicks”, but not very many and even the people in those groups were nice to the other kids. It really is a great school as far as that goes. Everyone is accepted.

I tried to tell myself that I was inventing something that wasn’t there. But…I just couldn’t shake the feeling that there truly was 😦

It was at that time that I lost my temper and knew that I needed to exit the facility in order not to embarrass my children. Afterall, X is going into his senior year and I don’t want to ruin that for him. You see, when I lose my temper (which is an extremely very rare occasion), people part from me like the parting of the Red Sea. I am not very pretty when I blow up which is why I have managed my anger very well through behavior modification. I pray and leave the situation quickly.

After much prayer last night, I found peace. I’ve decided that I will be seeing these women on a regular basis now and that I need to at least find out their names. As the school year goes along, I will also find out why they were staring at us also. I’m just blunt like that 🙂

The Sport of Motherhood!

The Sport of Motherhood!
image

The definition of a Mother in my mind is a selfless, patient, observant, willful woman whom loves children; not just the fruit of her womb, but all. I get my definition of Mother from my mom’s example in life.

There are no classes to enroll in that prepares a woman for motherhood. There’s no fancy degree awarded once this position has been granted. There are levels that can be achieved, but there is no Final Exam, EOC, or ECA.

Here’s my version of motherhood:
LEVEL 1 (Preparation): mental roller coaster. Begins with conception. Part 1 First Trimester – either begins in absolute bliss & gratitude or anger & frustration with the male involved in the act.
Part 2 Second Trimester – acceptance and love. Love being pregnant. Loves the baby. Accepted the “baby shape” her body took on.
Part 3 Third Trimester – ends in absolute bliss & gratitude or anger & frustration with the male involved in the act.

LEVEL 2 (Trial Run, warm-up, Beta phase)
This level is inevitable. All new mom’s know everything, yet know nothing. Receiving unsolicited advice not acceptable, yet asking questions is. During this test run, babies are accidentally scratched, bumped, diapered too loosely or tightly, baby poops on the last clean outfit & is destined to hang out in the buff cutely, formula is mixed wrong, the blanket is forgotten in Spring/Autumn/Winter, and the bottle runs out before mom makes it back home for more. (Not everyone breastfeeds.) During all events, mom looks around to determine if anyone saw her & is deeply embarrassed even though each oops is private & unnoticed! She learns from each mistake and grows.

LEVEL 3 (Dentistry & Theater)
During this level, use of recently acquired cry decoding skills are tested. Mom may think she’s failing. Baby needs mom – clingy yet squirms when held. Many new acts & scenes are created to satisfy baby. New voices, faces, dancing & twirling, musicals are performed. Accents are developed & mom begins to speak baby to adults unknowingly. Once the culprit is discovered (evidence of tooth or fever, unsolicited advice is given, or grandma steps in) mom is determined to help the teeth make an entrance! Many dental therapies are attempted (gels, ice, rags, toys, massage, pacifier, etc). After 1st & 3rd tooth arrive, mom’s an expert!

LEVEL 4 (Case Study/Analytics)
Testing commences on food studies. New cereals/foods are introduced. Gag reflexes are studied and results are documented and shared. During Pediatric check-up results are proudly delivered. Poop Analytics begin. More unsolicited advice is administered.

LEVEL 5 (Olympic Training)
Several new sports are mastered.
A. One hand hip hoist – picking up baby from floor with one hand free
B. Hurdels – running & jumping from one side of the house to the other while jumping gates, toys, or sippy cups to reach baby just in time before certain disaster.
C. Diaper Dash – changing diaper quickly in public before anyone notices…or smells it.
D. Clean Sweep – leaping, running, crouching, and reaching quickly to tidy the house when unexpected company or guests arrive
E. Spelunking – skill of saving baby from heights (cabinets, refrigerator, tables, stairs, or banisters at incredible speeds
F. CrossCountry Running – Running at gravity defying speeds to catching baby across a yard, field, park, or grocery/retail store.
G. Geocaching – locating a sippy cup/pacifier when dropped or thrown into a field, thicket of brush, driveway, park landscape, or retail store dump bin of merchandise.

LEVEL 6 (Literature and Audiology)
Reading to toddler. Teaching new words & phrases. Baby learns to mock & repeat…everything. Embarrassing and unsolicited phrases acquired from other children & family members. Baby repeats said phrases in public or church. Mom buffers impact, apologizes & corrects baby.

LEVEL 7 (Electrical Engineering)
Learns how to revive electrical devices after food, slobber, water, or impact damage. Items include VCR, DVR, DVD player, MP3, IPOD, cell phone, remote controls, PDA, etc)

LEVEL 8 (Gymnastic Floor Exercise)
Lego high stepping, lil green army men dodge, baby gate hopping, toy reach, baby swing, and toy ducking.

LEVEL 9 (Acceptance, Accolades & Admission)
This level occurs multiple times: Daycare, Preschool, Kindergarten, Middle School, High School, Driving, Graduation of any form, College, Engagement, Marraige, Grandchild announcement.

To sum it all up, mothers are a special breed of people. Any woman can morph into this status, if she is selfless.

Happy Mother’s Day Mommy! I love you 🙂

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