Author Archives: mastermindmommy

About mastermindmommy

I am a stay at home mom to two of the most wonderful aggrivating little children. I love my husband but sometimes I want to kill him. Oh and I have a BA in English and don't do anything with it. Go figure.

No Facebook

Ok, so, I’m not like a devout catholic or anything, but I try every year to give something up for lent. For those of you who don’t know, in the catholic religion, Lent is the 40 or so day period between Ash Wednesday (tomorrow) and Easter Sunday, excluding Sundays. According to upperroom.org “Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, usually begins with a service where we recognize our mortality, repent of our sins, and return to our loving God. We recognize life as a precious gift from God, and re-turn our lives towards Jesus Christ. We may make resolutions and commit to change our lives over the next forty days so that we might be more like Christ. In an Ash Wednesday service, usually a minister or priest marks the sign of the cross on a person’s forehead with ashes.”

I’m not here to push my religion in your face (please! I am FAR from devout!) but I am trying to raise my kids with something to believe in, so we stick with the familiar, both my husband and I were raised catholic, it just seemed the logical choice. (That, and my grandma could rise from the dead and beat me if I didn’t.)

Anyway, that’s not what I am here to write about.

I am here to state, officially, that I am giving up Facebook for Lent. I have come to the realization that I have a problem. I am on it constantly. And if I’m not on Facebook, I’m on other social media that posts to Facebook.

Man, I need a life.

Lent is supposed to be a time of sacrifice; a time of inner reflection.

Here’s my sacrifice.

40 days.

No Facebook*.

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Cross your fingers for me. Hope I make it.

In addition to that, I am also going to try to get to the gym more, stick to my diet better, and stop swearing (in front of my kids, because, duh!).

*No Facebook means just that. No Facebook. I will still be using other timesucks such as Pintrest, Twitter, and Instagram. Baby steps.

Here goes…

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I’ll report back and let you know how I did.

See you in forty days Facebook!!

This is an original ROSCMM post. All opinions in this post come from Jennifer herself unless otherwise noted.   This post has no compensation level as I did not receive anything for writing this post,(visit my Full Disclosure page for more details) and no, you can not steal my content unless you specifically ask me for it first. It’s called copyright, yo.

Copyright 2015 Mastermind Mommy

Categories: I think maybe I have a problem..., Randomness... | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ok so far…

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This month the From Left to Write Book Club is reading If I Fall, I Die, by Michael Christie. It’s about a young boy whose mother has such severe agoraphobia, he spends most of his childhood inside. It’s not until one brave day, when Will ventures outside to investigate a noise that his whole world opens up.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people my age and older tell their children “When I was young, I played outside all day.” “I didn’t have a cell phone. When my mom needed me, she stepped outside and called my name.” “I didn’t need my parents to drive me anywhere either, I had a bicycle!”

I am guilty of this as well. I routinely watch my kids roll their eyes at me when I recall the days of my youth, when I rode my bike to my friend’s house, or practiced roller skating in the street outside my house.

I hear people say that the world was so much safer back then. I don’t believe that to be true.

When I was a child, there were weirdos who drove white vans and tried to lure you in with candy, or puppies and then do terrible things to you. My friends and I knew about them, and stayed away from white vans. There were murders and rapists, psychopaths and religious extremists too.

What I truly believe, is that there appears to be more danger in the world because we are more aware of it. Dangerous people are celebritized (is that even a word?) and worshipped. Worse yet, after they’ve been made famous for a crime committed, they are deemed “not guilty” or “rehabilitated” and released back in to the world.

They are released back in to the world where our children are playing, and growing, and living. I’m not sure that I would rather be ignorant of the goings on around us, but why SHOULDN’T I be afraid to let my children play outside? Why SHOULDN’T I be terrified to let them out of my sight? Believe me, I am.

But I know I have to let them go to experience the world as I never have. I hope they travel and see sights I could only dream of. I hope they discover new and amazing things about themselves everyday. I hope everyday of their lives is an adventure.

And I also hope that when they do leave the nest, that I have taught them enough to be prepared for any situation. I hope they know how to handle heartbreak and anguish. I hope they know how to handle happiness and joy. And I hope they know how to handle fear and anger too. That they keep a level head and think before acting or saying.

I can only hope that I’m doing it right. I think I’ve done ok so far…

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This is an original ROSCMM post. This post was written for the From Left to Write Book Club and was inspired by If I Fall, I Die by Michael Christie, a copy of which I received for review purposes. All opinions are that of Jennifer herself unless otherwise noted.

Copyright 2015 Mastermind Mommy

Categories: #proudmoma, From Left to Write Book Club, Kids | 2 Comments

Bigger than the Universe

Scour the internet and you will find a gazillion articles on “Things I want to teach my children before they’re 18″ or something similar. The content of these articles range from teaching them to be kind and loving to teaching them how to cook and clean and sew to how to be a good parent and/or spouse.

As I write this, a family in my community is dealing with the loss of their 19 year old son who died in a car accident on New Year’s Day. He was a wonderful young man, an Eagle Scout, a college student, a great friend, brother and son. His death is senseless and tragic. There are no words to describe how this family must be feeling. My sympathies go out to them from the very bottom of my heart.

Last week, I accompanied my son and his Boy Scout troop to the wake where they said their final goodbyes to their brother in scouting. My heart shattered as I watched boy after boy break down at the loss of their friend.

In this post, I’m not going to tell you how to raise your children or what to teach your kids. I know you’re doing the best you can with what you have to work with. God knows, I’m not perfect and I have no right to tell anyone how to walk a straight line, never mind raise their kids.

There is one thing I do want to tell you, though. I am going home tonight and I am going to hug my kids. I am going to kiss my kids. And tickle them. And read to them (well, the little one at least) and yell at them to take their showers and brush their teeth and comb their hair and go to bed because they have school tomorrow. And I am going to make sure that they know that I love them more than they will ever know. More than my own life. And I am going to make sure that they know The Hubs and I are doing the best we can to make sure they have everything they need. As I do every night.

Because raising kids is hard.

But it’s an act of love bigger than the universe.

This is an original ROSCMM post. All opinions are that of Jennifer herself, unless otherwise noted.

Copyright 2015 Mastermind Mommy

Categories: Big Boy, Family, Little Miss | Leave a comment

Careful enough

Meet my grandma.

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She was my mom’s mom and my favorite person in the whole wide world. For the first 15 years of my life, she and my aunt lived in a two family house in Brooklyn. Sundays and holidays were spent at her house. Or she and Auntie would drive to ours in “Lawng Island”.

She was your typical Sicilian grandma, always telling you to eat and pinching your cheeks. And when she got mad, look out!! Wooden spoons were a fearsome weapon in our house.

She died on a sunny summer day in July 2006. We knew it was coming. She’d been diagnosed with dementia and her little body just shut down. My mom was staying with her and Auntie for a week or so before. And my other aunt, Little One, came in from Rhode Island as well. I was working in the pet store my husband and I owned. I was 27. My son was almost 4. I remember parts of the conversation with my mom that morning:

“Well? Anything?” I asked, kind of hopeful that some miracle would happen and Grandma would be well again.
“Not yet, ” my mom replied sounding sad and tired.
“Will you call me? Please? If she goes?”
“We’ll come get you, how’s that?”
“No, Ma. Just call.”
“Ok.”

No sooner had I hung up the phone, than my dad walked in. I can’t really remember, but I think he must have taken the train home from Manhattan, and instead of going straight home, he must have gotten off at the stop by my store.

He put his arm around me and whispered gently in my ear, “She’s gone.”

I remember being angry. Why hadn’t my mom just told me when I was on the phone with her? I had just hung up with her, why didn’t she tell me??

The rest of the day is a blur. I’m not sure how I got home. Or when we’d gone out to New Jersey for the wake and funeral.

A few weeks later, Auntie presented me with a tiny, red, quilted pouch. In it was a thin gold bracelet. I remember Grandma used to wear it on the same wrist as her watch. “Grandma wanted you to have this,” she’d said.

I loved that bracelet. I wore it all the time. And I was so careful with it. Always checking to see where it was. Always making sure that when I took it off, it was in a safe place.

And then I lost it. I woke up one morning and it was gone. It must have snapped and fallen off and I didn’t notice. I retraced my steps. I went back to the warehouse store. I checked the backyard where I’d help put together a pool for my son. I checked my car, my room, everywhere. It was gone.

Grandma’s gone eight years now. I keep this picture in my bedroom and I say good morning to her everyday.

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I am thankful for the time I got to spend with her. But I’m sad Big Boy didn’t get to spend more time with her and Little Miss never got to meet her. I’ve never found the bracelet either. Sorry Grandma, I guess I wasn’t careful enough.

This is an original ROSCMM post. All opinions come for Jennifer herself, unless otherwise noted. This post was inspired by the novel The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan, about two estranged sisters who are forced to work together in order to uncover the hidden inheritance by their mother. Join From Left to Write on December 2nd as we discuss The Mill River Redemption and enter to win a copy of the novel. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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Categories: Family, From Left to Write Book Club | 3 Comments

Suspicious…

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Three boys came to my house yesterday while I was at work and asked for my son. My dad, who answered the door, asked their names and offered to get my son from his bedroom. By the time Big Boy came downstairs to the door, the boys had run off down the street, not bothering to state their business or offer an explanation as to why they were leaving to abruptly. After a few questions, my son and I figured out who the boys were. Turns out they gave fake names to my dad. These boys don’t have the greatest of reputations either, so it makes me wonder, what would they want with my son?

Perhaps they honestly wanted to hang out with him, but why would they give fake names? And why would they run off before he could get to the door?

Sadly, this reminds me of too many stories of special needs kids getting hurt or even killed by people they believed to be their friends.

In August of 2014, a 16 year old with Autism was beaten up by an 18 year old after the 16 year old was invited to a party, given alcohol, and then told to go outside and fight someone. When he refused, the 18 year old was called and told there was a “drunk guy” at the party who refused to leave. The people at the party then videoed the attack and posted it on Facebook. Seriously? What makes that EVER right?

In Cleveland a special needs boy was beaten and robbed after school let out when he couldn’t find his bus pass, so he chose to walk home.

In 2012, a seven year old boy in Atlanta is repeatedly beaten up at school and no one calls his mother to report it. He would come home day after day with bruises and scratches on his face and no one in the school reported anything.

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It’s no secret that my boy has issues. His outbursts and anger control issues are enough to single him out as a target. Just the other day he had a problem a boy in an after school club. Apparently, the boy was antagonizing him and when my son exploded, there were scissors in his hand and they went flying, unintentionally, at that boy’s head. That boy then threatened to go to the principal and continued to antagonize my son with “You’re going to be in trouble,” even though, my son apologized repeatedly stating it was an accident. Needless to say, my son went to school the next day scared out of his mind. (Nothing has come of it so far.)

Last year there was an issue with another boy making fun of my boy and posting on The Vine. I have since addressed that and it has been taken down and dealt with accordingly.

Now, maybe I am over-reacting. Maybe these boys want nothing more than to hang out with my kid and play video games with him.

I just can’t help but be suspicious…

This is an original ROSCMM post. All opinions are that of Jennifer herself unless otherwise specified.

Copyright 2014 Mastermind Mommy

Categories: Big Boy, I hate people., Kids, Rants | Leave a comment

Conversations with My 12 Year-Old Genius.

Me: What are you doing?

Him: I am trying to gauge the ratio of noodles to soup so I know how much I am eating.

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Him: So, what are you reading?
Me: Its a book called The Goddess of Small Victories. Its about Kurt Godel, a famous mathematician and his wife, Adele.

Kurt and Adele Image Courtesy of The Kurt Godel Society

Kurt and Adele
Image Courtesy of The Kurt Godel Society

 

They were friends with Albert Einstein.

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Godel and Einstein. Image Courtesy of the Kurt Godel Society

 

Him: Woah… Friends with Albert Einstein? That’s cool.

Me: Yeah, that’s why I asked what kind of things you would ask him if he could come to dinner.

Him: Well, I think I’d ask him to explain to me about his theory of E=mc2. I mean I know what it means, Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared, which if something is going to speed of light it can’t really have mass. And, I think you know from all the science shows me and dad watch that there is a way to travel faster than light but its theoretical right now. You see, you’d have to bend the space time graph and …

Me: your lips are chapped and you need to cut your fingernails.

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Me: who do you think would win? Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein 1935. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

 

or Stephen Hawking?

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Stephen Hawking, 1980s Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Him: In a battle of the brains or just a battle…

Me: DUH! Let’s be logical here… Stephen Hawking has, what? Cerebral Palsy? (actually a motor neuron disease related to ALS)
Him: Yeah, and Albert Einstein would be like 105 by now. (he would be 135) So, yeah, Albert Einstein.
Me: Ok, why?
Him: Because Albert Einstein came up with the equation that all of space time is based on. I mean, E=mc2 is the basis of everything in space time. Which, did you know that the equation E=mc2 was actually incomplete when he first introduced it? There was a little bit extra that needed to be added on at the end of it. They discovered that later on.

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Not for nothing, but I think my kid’s pretty smart…  Happy 12th birthday!

 

Now I know how Adele must have felt during conversations with her husband and his scientist/mathematician friends!

 

This is an original ROSCMM post.  All opinions in this post are that of Jennifer herself unless otherwise noted.  This post was written for the From Left to Write Book Club and was inspired by The Goddess of Small Victories by Yannick Grannec, a copy of which I received for free for the purposes of this post.  

 

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Copyright 2014 Mastermind Mommy

Categories: #proudmoma, From Left to Write Book Club, Randomness... | 1 Comment

#FromLefttoWrite Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: 50th Anniversary Celebration

This post was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Penguin Young Readers Group, in partnership with Dylan’s Candy Bar, the world famous candy emporium, and First Book, a non-profit social enterprise that provides books for children from low-income families, is launching a year long international celebration.

Head on over to From Left to Write to learn how you and your child have a chance to win the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes where the grand prize is a magical trip to New York City plus much more!  For every entry submitted, Penguin Young Readers Group will make a donation to First Book.  Then join From Left to Write on July 24th as we discuss Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  As a book club member, I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-by-Roald-Dahl-666x1024This summer has been a crazy one…  We’re in the process of moving into our new space so everything is upside down in our home life right now, and every weekend there is something else going on.  Today, our friends are getting married, and I’m just too excited to sleep, so here I am writing my post.  Next weekend we prepare for my son to go to Boy Scout camp for a week and the following weekend, we go to Rhode Island to visit my aunt and uncle and retrieve my son from said camp.

One thing we’ve been able to make some time for though is reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  After dinner, the kids and I would sit down together on the couch and read about Charlie’s and the other children’s adventure in the chocolate factory with the eccentric Mr. Wonka.  Oftentimes, I would attempt (unsuccessfully) to sing the Oompa Loompa’s songs and speak in an English accent any time Veruca Salt opened her ungrateful, spoiled, little mouth.  It was bad.  Really really bad.  But fun.  So much fun.

As we read, I couldn’t help comparing the book to the two movies made, based on the book.  Have you read this classic?  Which movie do you think is more true to the book?

When my son was little, he was obsessed for a short time with both movies.  The Gene Wilder version of the movie we called “The Original Version”, while the remake, staring my boyfriend Johnny Depp, was called “The Creepy Willy Wonka”.   Everything he saw he related to the movies. When we would drive to New Jersey to visit my aunt, we’d pass the factories just before the New Jersey Turnpike. Big Boy would point to the smoke stacks and shout, “Look Mommy, it’s Willy Wonka’s factory!”  When we’d see a squirrel in the backyard, he’d tell me that the squirrel was collecting nuts to bring to Mr. Wonka.  Sometimes we’d make up a whole back story about the squirrel and how he was leaving his family to go to work in the chocolate factory.

It was during thA boy in all his chocolate glory!at time as well, that we took him to Hershey Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, my boy is now more in to video games than chocolate factories and silly games with mommy, but my daughter is just learning the joys of books my Roald Dahl.  I can’t wait to read more with her.

I think reading with my children is a wonderful thing.  In our crazy world of scouting events, dance classes, playdates, and birthday parties, I’m so glad we were able to find time to sit and go on this adventure together. I think another adventure is in order soon.  Perhaps James and the Giant Peach?

Copyright Mastermind Mommy 2014

Categories: Book Club, From Left to Write Book Club | 1 Comment

Defining The Boy

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This month the From Left to Write Book club read Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff. The story was about a family and the secrets that come to the surface after the death of their nine year old boy in a tragic accident. It chronicles how the family gets back on their feet after their loss and how they slowly begin to return to their lives, learning how to live their lives without James.

We’re sort of re-learning how to live our lives too, only we haven’t lost our boy. We’ve gained a label, gained an answer, and gained some understanding.

According to Wikipedia the definition of Aspergers is as follows:

Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s syndrome or Asperger disorder (AD), is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar, odd) use of language are frequently reported.

WebMD lists the symptoms of Aspergers as follows:

What Are the Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome? The symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome vary and can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include: Problems with social skills: Children with Asperger’s syndrome generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. They generally do not make friends easily. They have difficulty initiating and maintaining conversation. Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting. Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with Asperger’s syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.

Communication difficulties: People with Asperger’s syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and p understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context. Limited range of interests: A child with Asperger’s syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.

Coordination problems: The movements of children with Asperger’s syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward. Skilled or talented: Many children with Aspergers syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math.

Aspergers.com lists the treatment for Aspergers is as follows:

There is no specific treatment or “cure” for Asperger’s Disorder. All the interventions outlined below are mainly symptomatic and/or rehabilitation oriented. Psychosocial Interventions: Individual psychotherapy to help the individual to process the feelings aroused by being socially different Parent education and training Behavioral modification Social skills training Educational interventions

Psychopharmacological Interventions:
For hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity: Psychostimulants (methyphenidate, dextroamphetamine, metamphetamine), clonidine, Tricyclic Antidepressants (desipramine, nortriptyline), Strattera (atomoxetine)

For irritability and aggression: Mood Stabilizers (valproate, carbamazepine, lithium), Beta Blockers (nadolol, propranolol), clonidine, naltrexone, Neuroleptics (risperidone, aripiprazol, olanzapine, quetiapine, ziprasidone, haloperidol)

For preoccupations, rituals and compulsions: SSRIs (fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, sertraline), Tricyclic
Antidepressants (clomipramine)

For anxiety: SSRIs (sertraline, fluoxetine), Tricyclic Antidepressants (imipramine, clomipramine,
nortriptyline)

ADHD is defined by WebMD as:

The symptoms of ADHD include inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. These are traits that most children display at some point or another. But to establish a diagnosis of ADHD, sometimes referred to as ADD, the symptoms should be inappropriate for the child’s age.

Adults also can have ADHD; in fact, up to half of adults diagnosed with the disorder had it as children. When ADHD persists into adulthood, symptoms may vary. For instance, an adult may experience restlessness instead of hyperactivity. In addition, adults with ADHD often have problems with interpersonal relationships and employment.

Wikipedia defines ADHD as the following:

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, similar to hyperkinetic disorder in the ICD) is a psychiatric disorder[1] or neurobehavioral disorder[2] characterized by significant difficulties either of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), symptoms emerge before seven years of age.[3] There are three subtypes of the disorder which consist of it being predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I), predominantly hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD-HI or ADHD-H), or the two combined (ADHD-C). Often people refer to ADHD-PI as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD), however, the latter has not been officially accepted since the 1994 revision of the DSM. ADHD impacts school-aged children and results in restlessness, acting impulsively, and lack of focus which may impair school performance.

This is how I define Aspergers and ADHD:

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And this:

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Yes, that’s my boy. Yes, he has Asperger’s. Yes, he has ADHD. Yes, we’ve gotten a second opinion. And both doctors came to the same conclusion.

It’s not an easy thing to accept. Or an easy thing to talk about. Or an easy thing to understand.

But I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

Just this weekend he went with his Boy Scout Troop on his very first camp out, 4 1/2 hours away, without me or his dad. I worried and worried and worried, and cried and cried and cried, but he came home hungry, dirty and smiling from ear to ear. He had a FABULOUS time! And he hasn’t stopped talking about it.

Now we know why he does the things he does. Now we know why he’s obsessed with his video games, and why he loses his mind when something doesn’t work out the way he thinks it should or when he doesn’t understand something the first time around.

It’s because his brain doesn’t work the same way ours does. He expects to know the answer the very first time a problem is presented to him. He expects that his video games will always work and never break or malfunction or die.

People I’ve mentioned this to have said to me, “He’s just being a little boy.” Yes, he is, and I intend to keep it that way, but my little boy and your little boy and two different boys and my little boy is the one other little boys call “weird” or “strange”. And my little boy will be the one who will get bullied and picked on because he is “weird” or “strange”.

Unless I get him the help he needs.

One of the neurologists I saw told me that I have to teach him how to “mask” his “quirkiness”. He needs to learn how to hide what makes him who he is so he can fit better into society.

I’m not sure I agree with that.
I’m not sure I want that for him.

I AM sure that I just want him to be a little boy before is too late and he has to be a grown up.

I AM sure that I want him to have the best summer ever, every summer, and I will MAKE SURE that happens for him and his sister.

And I AM sure that he is MY little boy and I will love him NO MATTER WHAT.

God gave him to me for a reason, and I am honored to be his Mommy.

This is an original ROSCMM post and was written for the From Left to Write Book Club. This post was written in response to Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff an ebook copy of which I borrowed fro the library for the purposes of this post. And no, you can’t steal my content, it’s called copyright, yo.
Copyright MasterMind Mommy 2013

Categories: i do love them even though they drive me insane | 3 Comments

Figuring him out

As I type this my son is grumbling to himself and piling paper towel after paper towel over the dog’s spilled water. He’s angry with me because I won’t let him have Cheezits after he just had some brownies. Dinner will be in an hour and if I let him have more of a snack now, he won’t eat his dinner.

Tomorrow we go to the dr.

Finally.

Tomorrow we see the neurologist who will (hopefully) help us to determine why my son can’t sit still for more than a few minutes at a time, and why he gets so angry over little things like math homework and showers and the fact that Hurricane Sandy ruined his Halloween. Why he has to wear the same sweat jacket to school everyday and when he gets himself worked up in school, all he has to do is zip it up and he calms right down. Hopefully this doctor can tell me why as a baby he could spin and spin and spin and not get dizzy and why he’s not still unless he’s plugged in to some sort of device be it his iPod, his computer, or some sort of gaming console. Why he gets so fixated on one thing and can’t seem to let anything go until I absolutely lose my mind and scream at him, and then he gets angry and it starts all over again.

I need to figure him out. It started in Preschool when his teacher suggested I get him tested for ADD/ADHD because he was having trouble sitting still and staying focused. S By the time she brought it to my attention, it was too late for Kindergarten. I took him to a neurologist anyway, neurologist told me she could see him “seeking sensory stimulation” and ordered an EEG. When the EEG came back normal, she didn’t want to see him again.

In Kindergarten, the teacher said nothing to me that would imply that he would need to to be tested. He had behavior issues, but those were worked out with a reward chart.

First grade same thing.

Second grade, all hell breaks loose. He can’t concentrate on a test because the kids on the playground below his classroom window are yelling and some kid is calling his name. They’re not calling him, just some kid with the same name but its bothering him. He is constantly getting in trouble for talking and getting out of his chair. I begin to resent his teacher because I feel like she’s picking on him. Finally in May of that year, he loses his mind and shouts out to his teacher “I can’t wait till second grade is over and neither can my mom!!” Crap. She calls me in to explain myself. I tell her how I feel. She tells me to get him tested, but not to go through the school, get him tested privately. I call my dr, dr says that I have to go through the school. Call the school, psychologist says “it’s May, there’s really nothing I can do for him.” And pushed it back into my lap.

Third grade I was told that he was a genius but didn’t test well enough to get into the gifted and talented program.

Fourth grade, nothing.

Fifth grade, this past October, I get called in to speak to the teacher. “Have you had him tested? I need to know what’s going on with him.” I don’t know what’s going on with him, what do you think I should do? “Let’s talk to the school psychologist and see what she says.” One month later, I get another call to come in. “We have to figure him out.” He left his jacket (this was before we discovered the sweat jacket) in the gym and he needed to go get it, in the middle of a lesson. Without asking, he picked himself up and tried to leave the room. His teacher stopped him, but he nearly lost his mind because he NEEDED to get that jacket. “Did you call the school psychologist?” Yes, but she’s never gotten back to me. The next day, she calls. After the holidays, I get called in AGAIN. He’s had an argument with another student and told him he was going to f-ing kill him. Sigh…

There’s so much more, but I don’t want to turn this into a whine fest.

He has social issues too. He has a hard time making and keeping friends. He’s in a social skills group offered by the town. He sees the social worker at school once a week.

He has anger issues. He needs an outlet. I signed him up for Tae Kwon Do. It seems to be working.

It all seems to be helping. But only a little.

Next year he will go to Middle School and he will be faced with a whole new experience. Will he sink or swim?

So tomorrow we go. Is it ADD? ADHD? Emotional disturbance? Sensory?

I don’t know, and I’ll admit, I’m scared, but his teacher is right, we have to figure him out. And we will. And this goes without saying, I will love him no matter what. I just want him to be happy and comfortable, and safe.

This is an original ROSCMM post and was written for the From Left to Write Book Club. This post was written in response to Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives by John Elder Robinson an ebook copy of which I received for free for the purposes of this post. And no, you can’t steal my content, it’s called copyright, yo.

Copyright MasterMind Mommy 2013

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Categories: From Left to Write Book Club, i do love them even though they drive me insane, Rants | 5 Comments

The Pep Talk

20130213-175331.jpgThis month, the From Left to Write Book Club is reading Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives by Becky Aikman. It’s about a group of women, all in different stages of widowhood, getting together and forming their own support group of sorts. It was an effort by Becky to prove to herself and others that being a widow didn’t mean you had to sit around and mourn your lost husband forever. It was meant to prove that one could be a widow and still move on and create a new life.

As you know, the From Left to Write Book Club doesn’t write reviews on the books we read. We write posts inspired by the book. Last night, I was trying to put together ideas on what to write for this book. Nothing came to mind. I read posts by other members. Most of them were about the death or impending death of a loved one. I’m not feeling writing about the death or impending death of anyone. I’ve been there and done that. I want, like Becky wanted from the widows group she was kicked out of, a more uplifting post. Something that talks about life after death instead of grieving.

So, lets face it, it’s pretty inevitable that we’re all going to die at some point, right? (Unless you’re my dad who says he’s not going to die cause he’s got entirely too many people to annoy still.) But what about the people you leave behind after you die? What kind of things will they remember of you after you’re gone? This is what I want to write about for you today.

A few days ago, the kids and I were in the middle of our usual morning routine. Little Miss was at the table eating breakfast, I was packing Big Boy’s lunch, and Big Boy was off somewhere on his iPod.

Now, the day before, My Big Boy wasn’t feeling well and wound up giving back his breakfast after only eating it a half hour before. Ick. So he stayed home from school. Now I had a meeting that night and wouldn’t you know it, he spikes a fever. Dang it! So I pop him some Advil, and go to my meeting.

Next morning, he gets up, gets dressed, goes into the kitchen for breakfast. I didn’t say anything, he just did it.

Then…

I made the mistake of mentioning that since he had a fever the night before that I wasn’t planning on sending him to school. (I KNOW, I know… the rule is 24 hours fever free, but c’mon, he was FINE!) Well, as soon as he heard that I was originally wasn’t going to send him to school, he started.

“I HATE SCHOOL!! ”

“IT’S TOO HARD!!”

“I don’t wanna go!!”

Sigh…

So this is my fault, I know, so how do I handle this?? I scream at him. I argue with him. He cries… I hang my head, defeated, he hides in his room.

Then, a miracle occurred! MY HUSBAND WALKED IN THE DOOR!!

“Oh, I’m SO glad you’re home!”

Puzzlement.

“Would you please go down there and talk to your son? He’s refusing to go to school.”

“But I thought you weren’t sending…”

“I know, but he got himself up, and dressed, and he had breakfast. He’s FINE.”

Husband goes into boy’s room.

I brace myself for impact.

Now, I get told that I yell, a lot. But when my husband is angry or the kids aren’t cooperating and he’s frustrated, he explodes.

Five minutes go by and I don’t have a crying boy in front of me yet. I need to investigate.

So I go into the boy’s room, and my husband is kneeling in the middle of the room talking to the boy. TALKING!! Not yelling.

And the words?? Oh the words!

“I need you to go to school and learn as much as you can. Show everybody up. Be smarter than everybody. Make me proud.”

That’s the memory I want my son to have years down the road. The memory of his father giving him the motivation he needed when he couldn’t go on. The memory of his father talking to him, being there for him, supporting him, when his world was crashing down.

Thanks babe. You did it. I love you.

This is an original ROSCMM post and was written for the From Left to Write Book Club. This post was inspired by Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives by Becky Aikman a copy of which I received for free for the purposes of this book club. All opinions are that of Jennifer herself, and no, you can’t steal my content. It’s called Copyright, yo.

Copyright 2013. Mastermind Mommy

Categories: From Left to Write Book Club, i do love them even though they drive me insane | 2 Comments

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