The Irony

by beagoodmom on August 29, 2014

Its a great irony.  I need help around the house.  I cannot manage all by myself.  Plus, its good for kids to do chores, right?  I would be doing them a disservice if let them coast through life with no responsibilities, right?  So, I give them chores.  And having them “help” me should reduce my workload and stress, right?  Win-Win.

No.  Absolutely the hell not. 

I have to make chore charts.

I have to ask them every day….”did you do your chores?” 

I have to make things “fair.”  Have you ever tried to make a fair chore chart for a typically developing 11 year old, a 6 year old and another 11 year old with Autism?  It can’t be done. 

I have to orchestrate things to that they can do their chores at all.  I have to manage the family calendar so that they have a window of opportunity to do them. 

I have to make sure the supplies are distinct, stored in the same place and available. 

I have to “teach” them how to do each chore a dozen times while they do their best show me how they cannot possibly learn this new thing.

I have to check their work.   Even with consciously lowered expectations this never goes well.

I have to manage expectations and consequences.   I have to enforce the consequences and feel bad that I did so.   And the chore team members are so different that its nearly impossible for me to do this fairly.  Pookie does fine on jobs he understands, but he still has to be reminded and guided.  And if he fails, taking away his allowance makes no sense to him.  He barely understands money at all; he certainly does not understand how his allowance is tied to whether or not he unloaded the dishwasher when I reminded him to.   I don’t actually blame him when he fails to do his chores, but  when the girls are looking I have to pretend that I do because we have an established family message of “Pookie is capable of everything we teach him how to do.”   I can’t undermine that.  One more thing to orchestrate. 

And most frustrating of all…I have to watch them complain, drag their feet, grimace, and half-ass the jobs on purpose. 

Why?  Where’s the benfit for me?  Why don’t I just do it all myself?


Change the Channel

by beagoodmom on August 28, 2014

There’s a commercial on TV.  It’s a Public Service Announcement I guess.   I think its an anti-bullying message, I don’t really know.  I never make it past the first 3 seconds when the awkward boy on the bus gets hit in the back by some kid sitting in the seat behind him.  I never make it past there without changing the channel.  I never make it past there without crying.    I never make it past there without spending the next few hours fearing what my future holds.  I never make it past there without wondering how I will make it thru my future if I can’t even make it through the commercial.

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Public Service Messages- begin with the beginning

by beagoodmom on August 27, 2014

Giggles:  Mom, what is “tahb-bah-co”?

BAGM:  Tobacco? 

Giggles:  Yes, tobacco!

BAGM:  Its what cigarettes are made of.

Giggles:  Oh.  I needed to know.  I am supposed to stay away from tobacco but I will need to know what it is first.   I already know about cigarettes, but no one told me about tobacco!


First Day of School 2014

by beagoodmom on August 18, 2014

imageThis is a big year for the BeAGoodFamily!  The twins are in 6th grade (last year of elementary school) and Giggles is in 1st grade.  Its our one and only year where they all ride the same bus, to the same place and stay the same amount of time!   I sent them off this morning with the special lunch they requested (by committee):  cold cheese pizza, carrots and oreos.

Pookie got Geetle’s old 5th grade teacher this year;  the teacher moved up to 6th grade.  He’s a nice guy so we are happy about that.  Judy Blume will be back with Pookie for another year….very happy about that!   Most of Pookie’s friends are in his class this year, which will make him very happy.  I happened to visit school today (more on that below).  The office asked me to hand deliver a bus list to each classroom.  When I walked into Pookie’s, several of the kids recognized me and spun to look at Pookie in the back row.  Pookie loudly whispered “Oh No.  Mom is here!”  I smirked at him and delivered the bus list with a wave.

Giggles got the other 6th grade teacher, which was what she was wishing for all Summer.  In her class you get to sit in office chairs, bring in a blanket if you get cold in the winter, eat your snack anytime you want and listen to music during work time!  They might get to go to a musical in downtown Chicago this year; they’ll have to ride the train in!    Geetle also told me that I may cancel our newspaper subscription because she’ll be reading it at school this year.  She didn’t get any homework today, other than a homework and behavior contract that she has to sign.

Giggles is in Dual Language 1st grade.  I don’t think she will notice, but her teacher is a Spanish-speaker from Spain this year, rather than the more common (here at least) Spanish-speaker from Central America/Mexico.  I am told that he speaks with a different accent and uses some different vocabulary.  I don’t think that will be a problem for Giggles at this point.  In 1st grade they are 70% Spanish and 30% English.  Her teacher has a “magic neck tie” that he wears when he speaks English, and takes off when its time to speak Spanish in the classroom.   Giggles thought that was pretty awesome.  She is a little bummed out that her teacher’s room is in the preschool wing and therefore has cubbies instead of lockers, but she will adapt.

I volunteered at school today to help with all-school dismissal at 2pm.   About 10 other parents and I were assigned the job of standing in front of each bus with a numbered flag and checking bus IDs as every kid got on.  I am proud to report that only bus #6 kids got on my #6 bus!  It was crazy though…750 kids…all looking for their buses in a giant wave of tiny humanity.

Since I was volunteering at school, I sent emails to the kids’ 3 teachers telling them that I would take the kids home in the car with me when I was done.  Pookie and Judy Blume came out first and she handed him off to me.  Interestingly, she seemed nervous to surrender him to me!  The front of the school was PURE CHAOS at that exact moment and Judy Blume was supposed to go hold a flag in front of bus #12.  I told her I was Ok and Pookie could wait with me while I did my bus #6 job.  I think she was nervous that he would wander off!   I appreciate that she keeps such a tight sight on him when he is on school grounds.  I thought it was cute that she appeared to think twice before saying that he could stand with me, his Mother!

I saw Geetle next, walking out of the kindergarten door with a little curly headed kindergarten girl in her hand.  Geetle was a Patrol last year and this was her job every day as a 5th grader.   She was supposed to relinquish her job to a new 5th grader this year but they needed some 6th graders to fill in during the first week of school.  It was very cute to see her walking out with her little charge, looking very official.  She had an assigned kindergarten boy last year who she hoped was in Giggles’ first grade class this year, but sadly it looks like maybe he moved away over the Summer.   But she asked Giggles to check and make sure because, you know, that was her buddy last year!

I asked Geetle to find Giggles and pull her out of her class line.  She did and my little group was growing.  Finally, Geetle rounded up EB who was coming to our house after school today as well.  I had my 4 then.  I told them to stand over by the corner of the building while I finished my bus #6 job (I was holding my flag this whole time).  The bus dismissal was very slow today and they had to wait about 15 minutes for me.  Pookie paces when he is bored, but usually does not go far.

At this point, Geetle, EB and Giggles were about 20 feet from me; Pookie was another 20 feet beyond that.  As the kid crowd started to die down, my 4 kids started to stick out a bit and may have looked a little abandoned, standing there along the school’s exterior wall, but I was nearby.   However, at one point, Pookie’s teacher saw Pookie looking very alone and perhaps a bit perplexed (although it was really boredom) and must have thought something terrible had happened.   He came running over to Pookie, yelling with concern “Pookie! Pookie!  What bus are you supposed to be on!   Where is your Mom?!”   The teacher was very concerned but in a split second he saw Geetle 20 feet away (remember that he was Geetle’s teacher last year and knew Pookie from 5th grade camp as well), figured out that if Geetle was there, the situation must be a little more OK.  Then in another split second the teacher saw me with my #6 flag and figured it all out.

I saw this all unfold in a matter of a few seconds and realized that the poor teacher almost had a heart attack but was going to be OK!  I don’t think he expected Pookie to have such a long leash in public.  We usually give him quite a bit of slack and he does really well.  He keeps a good eye on us and stays close enough, but with some independence and responsibility for following along.

Within 5 minutes of this, ANOTHER teacher came running up to Geetle, noticed her standing there with Pookie, Giggles and EB, and yelled “You guys are all waiting for your Mom to finish her bus duty?  Ok…WAIT!  where is CB!!”  (remember that CB is EB’s brother and our well-known pal.)  Geetle looked calmly at the teacher and said “uhhhhh….he’s in 7th grade this year.  He goes to the middle school now.”  The teacher face-palmed and said “Ack!  Of course!  OK….Uh…just wait for your Mom here” and off she ran.

So, as you can see, all-school dismissal is CRAZY on the first day of school.  I am happy that I could help out, but it was almost too stressful for me!  Haha!

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Oh (inadvertent) Snap!

August 18, 2014

At the dinner table tonight: Geetle:  This year lunch will be great.  The 6th graders get to do lunch alone. BAGM:  How is that different than last year? Geetle:  Last year we were on the playground at the same time as the 2nd graders.  They kept ruining our games. Giggles:  Why?  Because they were faster […]

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Behavior and Consequences

August 18, 2014

Ok, so here’s a story about this boy.  The other day he got in trouble.  It would be hard to explain what he got in trouble for, it was just an escalation of many things that happened on a bad night. I told him that if he didn’t behave I would take away one of […]

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Tonight was one of those nights

August 14, 2014

One of those nights where if you asked me if I loved Pookie I would pause, take a deep breath and say “of course I do” with an air of serenity that belies my actual stress level.  The pause would be just a fraction of a second too long and you would almost start to […]

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The kids ran a 3k race on Saturday. Someone cried. No lie. It was not pretty.

August 10, 2014

So, the kids had one last race this Summer, a 3k race in a nearby small town.  It was a fundraiser for a local food pantry and it was kind of loosely organized.  It wasn’t timed, but it had all the other features of a well-run race:  official T-shirts, marked route, etc.   Usually, I […]

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I made a mistake

August 7, 2014

He’s OK and nothing bad happened.  But all I can do it sit here and think that I made a mistake, that I did not handle it correctly.  And I am more scared by that fact than I was while the whole thing was going on. Pookie always gets ready too early in the morning. […]

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July 28, 2014

“That squirrel is walking on the telephone wire!” “Look! They are redoing the Wendy’s!” “The bees are eating something (on that plant)!” We have been getting a lot of these generally appropriate observations from Pookie lately.  He usually (quite literally) exclaims them, as if he himself is surprised by the thought in his head.   […]

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