Monday, March 14, 2011

The Power: Understanding that a Jock is just a Jock

With incredible support from the coaches, a lot of back-channeling by us and a fantastic special ed crew at our high school, The Weatherman is a Lacrosse player!

“Lacrosse?” you might say, “really, for an aspie kid?”

And I say, “Lacrosse Mom? For this brain-dead husk of a survivor of three ADHD teens?  Bring it on!!”

The Lacrosse topic came up, as all paradigm-shifting conversations always do, unexpectedly and in the car.
(When the Smarter Spicoli was 13 he asked me how old I was when I lost my virginity.  I asked him why and he said he felt so sorry for Dad who told him he lost his virginity when he met me…he was 39…my hormonal son was practically despondent and I nearly rolled my car trying not to laugh.)

The Weatherman TOLD me he was trying out for the Lacrosse team.  I had to fight my wicked ADD “foot-in-mouth-disease” and refrain from saying “Are you kidding?  You don’t even walk fast let alone run and we have never been to a lacrosse game, we don’t know the rules and don’t those guys bash each other with sticks?”  But, my friends will be shocked to know that I actually told him I thought it was a great idea. 

Now for the next step. Teaching The Weatherman Lacrosse.

*Found a local coach who spent weeks teaching The Weatherman the basics so that when he got out on the field for tryouts, he didn’t embarrass himself.

*Contact the HS coach and start the long “conversation.”

*Buy a DVD about lacrosse.

*Get the outfit. So…here is how that went down.

The Weatherman and I went to the local sport store and I found a sympathetic looking sales kid to rescue me.  If The Weatherman was going to try out, at the very least, he would have the coolest accoutrements to complete the look. 

I accompanied the two as we piled the cart with pads, helmet, cool looking stick, gnarly cleats, gloves and oh, yeah, one thing the Weatherman didn’t have was a Jock Strap.

I made eye contact with the sales kid and left those “details” for him to discuss with The Weatherman…but I stayed close just in case The Weatherman reacted to the sales kid's size selection.

I give the sales kid a lot of credit.  He found the right stuff I guess and off to the cash register we went. 

We were ready….uh…sort of.

On the first day of practice, The Weatherman got dressed at home and I really had no idea if all the pads were on properly but he looked okay to me. 

Until I saw the way he was walking.  He was walking like a cowboy with bowlegs.  So I said to him “Hey, why are you walking so funny?”

He told me that I would walk that way too if I had to wear “a F#$%^ cup!”

So, of course I sympathized with him and said I had no idea what that would be like but lots of men play sports and don’t walk that way.

Swear this is true.  The Weatherman said that he didn’t believe that because “How could they do that with their balls hanging out of the cup.”

Breathe deeply.

My delivery of the next “piece of advice” was cautious as I told him I didn’t think he could possibly have it on right.  I gently said that I think the cup is designed to hold your stuff.  But again, I digressed with “I wouldn’t know that for sure, of course.”

That is when the light went off in The Weatherman’s eyes.

“Oh, maybe I have it on upside down.”

Ouch! “Really?”

So, the poor Weatherman had indeed put the smaller part on the top, which left his manjigglies squished out on the sides.

I drew the line at helping him “adjust” this issue but I did work the “visual learning” aspect of the teachable moment that would have given legendary mime Marcel Marceau a run for his money.

And, really, this begs the question “Why doesn’t any of this stuff happen on my husband’s watch?”

By the way, The Weatherman is having a great time on the lacrosse team and with all that “support” (haha) he is walking around campus like “THE MAN!”

Scepter’s up!!!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Power: Keeping My Eye on The Poon Puppy

The Power: Keeping my Eye on the Poon Puppy

My two college kids came home for their holiday break…for a month!

I have to admit, as the day approached in December for their return, I, like most normal mothers, looked forward to having them home.  Though I had gotten used to, and enjoyed the relative quiet of our house somehow I had developed a brain lesion or selective memory and had forgotten how much I deplored their nonstop, techno, wall vibrating taste in music. 

I returned to my old, cranky, pissed off self after a day of “Dub Step” and the endless parade of the cast of characters who just had to welcome back The Smarter Spicoli and Rainbow Sparkle-Dazzle!

But, the best was yet to come! 

For anyone who thinks kids grow out of their ADD, I’ve got news for you…they don’t.  They are prone to all the same stuff that got them into trouble when they were in elementary school but now, often times, the consequences are a bit more challenging.

Impulsivity is our family’s biggest challenge.

The Smarter Spicoli came home a couple of days after Christmas with a Siberian Husky puppy that he had quasi rescued in downtown LA. He told me that the puppy was going to live with him in San Francisco.

Here are the highlights of our exchange.

Me: “A puppy? How can you bring a puppy back to college?  What about studying?”

Spicoli: “It’s chill, Mom.”

Me: “Puppies require a lot of attention. You go to school all day.”

Spicoli: “Mom, it’s chill.  I live with 5 guys. They will help.”

Me: “Why don’t you bring our old lab up to SF.  She sleeps all day and only requires feeding.”

Spicoli: “Dude, Mom.  Chicks love puppies.”

Me: “What?”

Spicoli: “Mom…if I walk around SF with this really cute puppy, think of all the poon I am going to get.”

*note: one of the special gifts a child with ADHD has is a lack of filter and relentlessly inappropriate, but truthful discourse.

Me: “You mean to tell me that you are going to take advantage of this sweet little puppy as a device to get poon?”

Spicoli: “Totally. It’s like a chick magnet.”

Poon Puppy with our Lab.
Me: (looking at the sweet puppy) “How does it feel to be a Poon Puppy?”

So the rest of the The Smarter Spicoli’s “vacation” was “totally chill” as the aphrodisiac effects of the Poon Puppy began to pay off. Gross.

I, on the other-hand, spent the “vacation” pointing out poop for Spicoli to clean up and trying to teach him how to care for a puppy that had such a wonderful future waiting for him in Spicoli’s lair.

As the date got closer and Spicoli realized just how hard he was going to have to work to get “poon” I began to feel really sorry for the Poon Puppy. He was going to be miserable in San Francisco. I prayed that Spicoli would see the world through the Poon Puppy’s striking blue eyes and figure out for himself that sacrificing the dog for poon would be the right thing to do…as a good citizen.

Thankfully for the Poon Puppy, Spicoli’s landlord told him that he would get evicted if he had a puppy.  Spicoli was pretty sad and wiped a tear from his eye as he said his good byes.  Not sure if the tear was for the dog or for the chaste future he faced back in San Francisco.

I didn’t have the heart to give the Poon Puppy away so, I am now the mother to two cats, two dogs and a cockatiel and now, a Poon Puppy. We all know the drill…they gnaw on everything, poop everywhere require exercise and non-stop attention and everything has to be put and out of teething range.

I am reluctantly up for it. What’s the worse thing that could happen?

Teeth marks at bottom right, ouch!!
Swear to God…I woke up yesterday morning and found the Poon Puppy teething on my $3500 fake eye. (it’s like a big contact lens which covers failed cornea transplant, no big deal) but now it has teeth marks on it and I can’t wear it because it hurts when I blink.

I’ve got to do a better job keeping my eye on that Poon Puppy!!

Scepters UP!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Power: Believing My Daughter...An "F" Can Actually Disappear

Last year, when I got the dreaded "progress reports" from the high school in the mail, I poured myself a lovely cab and sat down at the kitchen table. Progress reports meant a lot around here. Either I had a house full of dedicated "homework-doers" whose grades would reflect their nightly chants of "it's cool Mom, I did all my homework" or I had a house full of liars.

When they were little, I used to employ my mother's trusty old Dickens-like device to seek out the liars in my family. "Stick your tongue out and let me see if it's black" was a remarkable device and every time they would roll their eyes down to see if their tongue had turned black, I would laugh to myself. This was SO easy!! Too bad it didn't work when I asked my husband if a dress made me look fat or if my drooping jaw line made me look like a marionette. But now that they were older, my teenagers would boldly stick their tongues out just to prove they weren't lying.

So, when I opened up Rainbow Sparkle-Dazzle's second semester senior year progress report, I nearly fell over.
She actually had an F in English!! With three kids with ADHD and my youngest in Special Ed, it seemed miraculous that I had actually never seen an F in all these years so when I called her into the kitchen, I was pretty pissed.

AS much as someone with heavy black Doc Martens could look like they were "strolling"over to the kitchen table, RS-D did just that and casually lowered her pink tipped locks to get a good look at the progress report. When she saw the F she gave a knowing laugh and said that her teacher had told her that the F wasn't really an F and it would disappear the following week.

Nicely done I thought. Calm, cool, confident. REALLY!!!?? She thought I would fall for a disappearing F?

She then sauntered off to the family computer which I valiantly and proudly kept in the kitchen so that I could attempt to monitor all their internet activities like the "Poster Mom" I dreamt I could be. RS-D happily composed an email to her teacher, hit send before I could read it and smiled proudly at me. "Geez Mom, don't be so paranoid. It's all chill."

Chill...?? God, I hate that word, by the way!

Moments later I received an email...

I am reprinting the following email from RS-D's teachers. (I changed all the real names)

Hello Mrs. xxx
I'm just writing to let you know how wonderful RS-D has been in my class.
Please don't worry about her grade at this moment. She just forgot to give her
Hamlet logs before the grading period and that plummeted her grade to an F.
Once she turns them in it will go back up to a B.
RS-D is an fantastic part of class. Smart, respectful and funny. And she has
been very good all year about her grades in English. This is just a momentary
fall that will be restored.
Thank you. And just let me know if I can help with anything.
Sincerely,  English Teacher

I had to laugh. I could tell it really came from the teacher and I was pretty happy to read all the great stuff about her but REALLY??  This might have been the very first nice letter I had ever gotten in my whole life as a mother of three kids so I stopped my self from hiring a skywriter and decided to have some fun with it.

I sent the following email to my daughter and cc'd the english teacher.

"Dear Rainbow Sparkle-Dazzle,
Dad and I can't believe you hijacked Mrs. xxxx's email address and sent us this inconceivable "teacher's pet letter" as a ploy to let you go out this weekend.

RS-D, in all the years that Dad and I have had letters from teachers come to our house, we have never, ever, ever gotten a letter of such high praise about any one of you kids. We have become quite familiar with the "Dear Mrs. xxx, your child (fill in the blank) said (fill in the blank) at nutrition and now will have to do full day Friday."

Dad and I began to feel suspicious with the implausibility of this dubious letter when you included that you are a "fantastic part of class." We really got nervous when you said you have "been very good all year about her grades in English." But, the big "a-ha moment" came when you said you were "smart, respectful and funny"...uh...funny? No one is funny in our family...

You are grounded.

Love MOM"

I wish I could find the actual reply from RS-D's teacher. She defended my daughter and said the first email had actually come from her. RS-D hadn't hijacked anyone's email...she was innocent. When I tried to tell her I was just trying to have some fun with RS-D...she gave a glib reply which basically inferred that poor, quirky, ADHD RS-D had obviously had more significant challenges at home... with her weird parents.

And...the "F" disappeared!

Scepters up!!

Queen Beach

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Power: "The Old Switcharoo"

Spotty and Brownie were two very special mice and have earned a sacred place in our family lore.

When a "quirky" kid has an interest, all of us exhausted parents will go to the ends of the earth to try and accommodate that interest.  Who knows where it will lead, right?

RS-D has always loved animals and as I have previously mentioned, our house has been home to a manegerie of pets.

When RS-D was five, she fell in love with two "adorable" mice that we had walked bye in the pet store as we got a bag of crickets for her frog.  How could I say no when I figured they were going to be fed to a snake anyway.  So, we got her a clear plastic mouse cage complete with the spinning wheel, places to hide, tubes for water and food and lots of wood shavings.  Chez Spotty and Brownie was a mouse paradise!

We kept the mouse cage up on our counter in the kitchen so that RS-D could care for them and watch them play all day.  She could even carry the cage around to her friend's houses and to school because the cage had a convenient handle on top and it was pretty lightweight.  That is the operative word here...lightweight.

While RS-D was in school one day, I came home to find that our cats, Alvin and Simon, had also enjoyed watching Spotty and Brownie play all day, too.  So much that during all the excitement, they knocked the cage onto the kitchen floor.  I can only imagine the scenario because I found poor Brownie shuttering among the wood shavings.  Spotty's remains were left under the piano.  I was horrified!  What a terrible ending to Spotty's life!

But, I had to do something, and something fast.  RS-D couldn't see the carnage!!  I jumped in my car and drove as fast as I could to the pet store and quickly found a feeder mouse who was white and had spots similar to Spotty.  It didn't occur to me at the time but I am sure the pet store left the feeder mice to themselves and I suspect there must have been a lot of inbreeding.

I plopped the new Spotty back into the cage and RS-D thankfully didn't notice any genetic differences.  Good thing the pet store had a supply of these genetically related mice because my cats did this repeatedly over the span of a couple of months.  In fact, in a sort of Sisyphus-like twist, those poor mice must have really had a junky karma and a crummy destiny.  We got to Brownie #5 and Spotty #3 and she didn't ever notice the difference...until Spotty #4.

One day, RS-D came home from school and remarked that Spotty had part of his ear looked like Brownie #5 had taken a bite right out of his ear.  So, RS-D put Spotty in our "travelling mouse cage" and we headed for the vet with her best friend, Maria. They were both dressed as Belle, RS-D wore gold lame version of the rescued Belle while Maria wore the pink wedding Belle dress.

As the girls took off holding hands looking at all the poor injured animals waiting for the vet's tender care, I told the vet the whole story of Brownie #5 and the now, Spotty #4's ear debacle.

I swear this is a true story.

The vet took Spotty #4 out of the cage and wrapped he/she in a towel with her/his head sticking out and facing me.  I watched Spotty#4's face as the vet took a really long Q-Tip to try and clean out the affected ear.  It was then I remarked at how amazing it was that Spotty wasn't squirming around like he/she always did.  The vet looked at me quizzically.  "Really" she said.

It was then that I gulped and watched the vet lay the towel on the exam table, unfold the ends to reveal Spotty#4's limp body.

I looked over at the girls who were engrossed in the caged animals and didn't notice the drama the vet had just unfolded.

The vet looked at me and then at Spotty's limp body.  She took her two fingers and gently gave Spotty a couple of firm chest compressions and waited.  Nothing.  She tried it again.  Nothing.  And then she took her stethoscope from around her neck, placed the pieces in her ears, held the end to Spotty's chest and listened.

I swear to God...I held my breath willing Spotty to be just unconscience.

The vet slowly shook her head, removed the stethoscope and said "I'm afraid we've lost Spotty."

To this day I don't know if I almost burst into tears or into hysterics!!  It was a line right out of Ben Casey.  I had been holding my breath for what seemed like an eternity that I had trouble catching my breath as I looked over to make sure that RS-D and Maria didn't hear me.

I felt so badly for Spotty especially since he/she was looking right at me...I was the last person in this world that he/she had seen.  Geez....

I glared at the vet as I grabbed the girls.  I told them that Spotty was going to have surgery that evening and that we would be back right after school tomorrow to bring him/her home.

The next day I paid yet another visit to the pet store, picked up Spotty #5, brought him/her to the vet and back into the portable mouse cage. And when RS-D got home from school, we promptly went to the vet to pick up the surgically enhanced Spotty. She was very impressed with the vet's incredible skill..."you could hardly tell Spotty had surgery" she remarked.  I never did pay that vet bill, by the way.

When we got back home, RS-D was so relieved to bring Spotty home and gently place him/her back into Chez Spotty and Brownie.  But as Spotty got used to his/her "new surroundings" RS-D was shocked that Brownie hid behind the spinning wheel.  "It's as if Brownie doesn't recognize Spotty, Mommy."

It was then I realized that the jig was up.  I didn't recognize Spotty or Brownie or myself but I sure did recognized my daughter and her clarity.  I had exhausted myself and compromised the lives of a few poor sweet mice to keep my kid's attention and allow her to nurture her interest.

So, I adjusted my crown, hopped in the car and got Spotty and Brownie a new, sturdy cage where they could live together in peace and harmony (and safety) with all our other animals and still hang out in the kitchen.

Sometimes Supervision is in hindsight but as we know, it's 20/20!

Scepters up!!

Queen Beach