31 July 2010

The Sideburns

Elf refused to get his hair cut. He wanted to keep his "sideburns." He CANNOT have his sideburns cut, ever. He's absolutely freaked out about it. But he *needed* a haircut, folks. Needed.
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I've tried all kinds of goofy agreements, but they didn't work. I can't have a ten-year-old physically fight me while I'm holding scissors, so finally I just told him I'd keep the sideburns and we'll just see what they look like.
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"And you won't cut them after we see what they look like," he told me. ("Well, we'll see," I told him. "Maybe you won't like them.")
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We kept on and on this way. WHY would a ten-year-old be so concerned about sideburns? Nobody wears those any more.
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"They look manly," Elf told me with a sniff.
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"Well, a lot of the really, really OLD Presidents wore sideburns, Elf," I said to try to convince him.
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"Yes," he told me. "And they were manly."
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Sigh. He doesn't know who Elvis is, or that might be a convincer. So I had to use my diplomatic skills, which I have in abundance, oh-so-skillfully. Elf and I and finally we were able to strike a deal. I would document the haircutting process, and blog readers would let us know what they think.
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So... are sideburns in with the blog-reading set? Do they look manly? Elf and I want to know.

Elder Abuse

Grandma dies on her 81st birthday, with sores large enough to see the tendons through. She had been sitting in her own filth and allowed to sit in a recliner all the time. Charges are forthcoming against the family members she lived with.

Wow.

You know, I used to be a really judgmental person on stuff like this. How could you NOT NOTICE sores in which you can see the muscles and stuff beneath? Wouldn't it stink? Wouldn't you notice that Grandma's toenails are all curled up into her skin and that she's uncomfortable?

Well, I'll say this. I'm not sure if charges are warranted or not. I'm not the cops or the hospital room attendant. I'm pretty sure the jails are crowded enough that they don't just go looking to toss people into the slammer at taxpayer expense. But I'm also pretty sure that mistakes can be made, too.

The story tells us that among other outrages, Mary Araujo had "1-inch facial hair around her mouth." Now think about this. Is this even something to get worked up about? I'm looking at it from the older person's perspective. Everything takes up all your energy. You want to stay home and not be bothered with extra stuff like eyebrow plucking and facial waxing. That doesn't mean you want your name plastered on the internet after you're dead with a description like, "one-inch long facial hair" (the CORRECT way to write that, AOL News. You never type numbers under ten. But 11 and up you write like this. Though I just looked in the *new* AP Stylebook and saw that they have deemed that to be correct. The losers. Good grammar compromised to save space. But back to the story.)

You're incontinent every five minutes. Are you really "sitting in your own filth" because it's someone else's fault, or are you just leaky all the time? I'm picking the latter. It would have to be really, really awful for me to think about pressing charges if I were a prosecutor. Even with a diligent family, you're NOT going to be able to prevent someone from "sitting in her own filth" from time to time. The situation just causes filth too frequently.

And the sores? Where were they located? The story doesn't tell us. If I were old, and pooping and peeing and not able to bathe thoroughly, and my clothes even when they were washed still had that urine-y smell, do you think my caregivers would smell "bedsore" over the ickiness? Probably not. And I can't imagine it would be "appropriate" for a daughter to ask her mom to show her butt off every day so that she can check for sores.

And do you know what my reaction to you is going to be if you suggest that I should let you shave my facial hair? Guess.

Even in a good nursing home, if you push the call button, sometimes they take 45 minutes to respond. I do know a person who died in a nursing home with sores and problems as described in this story. Sometimes people refuse care. Sometimes folks do all they can, and it isn't enough.

Does that mean I think these caregivers are totally innocent? No. I think the position of caregiving is one in which you will NEVER be innocent. No matter what you do, it is never enough. Someone will always, always be able to ask, "Why didn't you do this?" Or that... or consult this specialist... and why aren't her toenails done nicely? (Have you ever seen how difficult it can be to care for an older person's foot? Especially if complications like diabetes come up.)

I'll leave the judgment of this situation to the judge or jury of this case, but I wanted to put out there that while there IS elder abuse out there, not all of it is intentional. Not all of it is vicious. Sometimes the patient's rights should be respected, even if the patient doesn't quite have all her marbles. And I'm quite certain that there are many people in situations like this asking for help and not receiving any.

29 July 2010

Please Quit Being So Fat.

Can you believe they're using REAL MONEY to implement "Healthy Schools" in the Kansas City district? Let's just consider some of the stuff they're going to "accomplish," shall we? Perhaps I'll add a little emphasis and comments of my own along the way.

"The following elements will be measured and evaluated:

*Student knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding energy balance to maintain a healthy weight (Pray tell, HOW are they going to "measure" someone's "attitude" in regard to "energy balance?" [calories in vs. expended])

*Impact of the program on fitness scores and BMI measures (Umm... they run your kid through a physical test, WEIGH him, calculate BMI and report this information back to "the program." Wow.)

*Improved food behavior in school lunch through the use of digital photography of lunch trays pre- and post-intervention (How would YOU feel if you were stuck at school all day and the lunch monitor took a picture of your lunch tray to see if your "food behavior" improved??)

*Increased physical activity on weekdays through the use of accelerometers pre- and post-intervention

*Researchers will also assess the value of the Healthy Schools Partnership among schools administrators, teachers and foodservice personnel, and changes in the school environment associated with the program." (How do you measure "school environment?" PLEASE tell me they don't have corny posters along the lines of, “If you eat that sundae, play more soccer." Oh, snap. They *do.*)

Siiigh. I don't doubt that there are plenty of fat, unhealthy people out there. But I can't say that I'd support this idea of making the health curriculum so personal. I had a hard enough time in high school when they talked of "good hygiene," washing your face and whatnot. I had such terrible acne that eventually only Accutane even got close to helping me look like a recognizeable human being. It was so humiliating and disfiguring... there aren't even words to describe what that does to your social life and self-esteem at that age...

I can't imagine being a really fat kid and having some nutritionist review my "food attitudes" and take my weight at school. Bad enough to get the sneers as a nearly 300 pound adult. Then to sit and talk about "don't be so fat" as part of the health curriculum for a full school hour while all the other students are stealing sideways glances at me... it would be too much to bear. At least the "don't squeeze your zits" part of our health curriculum in high school only lasted about a week. Imagine sitting through a three-year program.

I think instead of teaching health (quit being so fat, quit having zits, only sluts get STD's, don't smoke), maybe they should teach accepting people the way they are. When they FEEL BETTER about themselves, they can make those positive changes for themselves if the right drugs or regimen is out there. Though it took my changing dermatologists to get away from the professional squeezer. My mom found someone who actually prescribed drugs that worked. Thanks, Mom! :)

I know public schools, especially in areas like urban Kansas City, serve students who come to class with major problems. No dad, or drugs at home. Poverty. Gangs... stuff like that. Do we really need to be worried about these kids eating too many Twinkies? Teaching them to eat organic alfalfa sprouts isn't going to do them much good if Mom sees she can get four loaves of bread for the same price. That isn't a cut on these families... it's just reality.

28 July 2010

A Recent Pic

of Emperor to go with my last post. He'd just finished washing up after lunch. Do you think he forgot something?? Yep, he's cute.

Please Welcome Emperor...

... to the wonderful world of autism. He got his diagnosis today.

It went about as I expected, though I wasn't prepared for the fact that IQ testing is part of the evaluation process of an older child. I don't put a lot of stock in these tests, but the fact that he is in the superior range mathematically hardly surprised me. He also answered the "do you recognize which is the angry face?" question by giving the ratio of correct answers to incorrect and then deducing the liklihood of his getting the right answer. You just have to laugh at some of the silly stuff Emperor does. Though he was wrong in his analysis; I think he failed that section... that means there was a ZERO in three chance of getting the right answer, boyo...

The hospital staff recommends that we enroll the kid in public school for the free occupational therapy, social skills training and speech therapy. Guess how much of that is happening? Go ahead and give me a ratio of "stuff they expect" to "stuff that's likely to happen."

27 July 2010

The Letter the Colleges Won't See

I know you're getting a lot of applications from students with excellent job records and a number of extracurricular activities as well as good grades. I'm asking you to consider my jobless son who doesn't do much at school after hours anyway. The boxes on your application form don't give us a space to adequately explain what's going on here.

His brother has severe mental illness, and from one day to the next we don't know what is going to happen. Whether it will be a "good" day or whether the police will be by. (Applicant teen) has had a friend over on perhaps four occasions during the last five years. Please note that these visits occurred when his brother was in the mental hospital. If nothing else, it would be nice if you could admit him so that he'd have a place he'd "have" to go, and he wouldn't feel obligated to give up his young adulthood as he's given up his teen years.

Mental illness is one of those odd things. Some days, his brother is well. At other times, he can snap with little warning and become quite violent. This makes it impossible for his parents to schedule work times for Applicant teen or be available to drive him to work. We simply cannot leave a raging teen in the house. Unfortunately, things are not under control even with medication and much outside support.

It is true that on more than one occasion, (Applicant teen) has been deliberately disobedient to his mother. He has stood between his mother and his brother when his brother was violent. He refused to go downstairs, to just get out of the situation and let Mom deal with it. I hope you consider that this means Applicant teen knows when to follow the rules and when to disobey for what he sees as the greater good. Though I still wish Applicant teen had obeyed without question.

Applicant teen is like a third parent to my children. Many of the younger children have special needs as well. Applicant teen watches them so that I can homeschool his younger siblings during the summer as well as on those many unplanned dramatic events during which we must have the mental health workers and/or police over. He also is in total charge of our home and the children for about a four hour stretch during the weekly visits the adults must make to a mental health center for his brother.

He really doesn't get much thanks or respite himself. I hope that you, College Very Far Away From Here, will consider his application and give him such a great scholarship that he leaves and does not come home until Christmas break (if then). I don't know how we'll manage without him, but I know he needs to leave.

I understand that in sending him to your school, I run a good risk of his realizing that he has been overburdened all these years and that his family is messed-up. I love him enough that I'm ready to let him go anyway.

I don't suppose you have a scholarship for people who have been affected by mental illness? Can't hurt to ask. Thanks! :)

25 July 2010

The Dark Rider

He's really a much-beloved Japanese doll wrapped in a cloth pirate hat, but he plays his part so well. He keeps coming up behind me and whispering, "Baggins..." Can you tell we are midway through The Fellowship of the Ring?

24 July 2010

How Does the World Work?

Not an alarmist post... but a wondering one.

Do you turn off the news when the boring "financial market" guy comes on? They talk so fast and never explain anything. I don't have any money to invest, so I really haven't bothered to find out about stocks, CDs and secret slush funds and how to manage them. So to me, words "Consumer Price Index" never meant much of anything.

But they do. And do you know where the information that makes up the Consumer Price Index comes from?

From the US Census Bureau! Really! I swear I am not making this up. I swear it isn't even Obama's fault. This is something that has apparently been going on a long time.

I saw a local newspaper article about the US Census Bureau selecting lucky, valuable, helpful Americans by a secret process (or if it isn't secret, it certainly isn't outlined!) to divulge ALL their purchases, right down to the last soda pop on several occasions. My goodness, you can't buy a roll of toilet paper without telling the Census worker about it. And somehow the price of a can of pop must be different for all y'all people of Hispanic and Asian descent at the local Wal-Mart, because it's *really* important that you tell them your race before beginning this process. But seriously... why do they need to know this? Changing prices like that is majorly illegal, not to mention it would entail too many barcodes and isn't very cost-effective for the retailer.

(Ok, that was snarky. But I like being snarky. My blog. But really. Is the Census Bureau paranoid about super-discount "white only" stores out there operating in secret? What gives???)

The mysterious people behind the curtain work the numbers that come in (they respect your confidentiality!) and come up with something called a Consumer Price Index. That is supposed to be a magic number that will give you a good idea how the economy is doing. The index uses a fixed "basket" of goods that only slowly changes over time. You know the economy is doing well when people can buy lots of stuff and badly when they can't. It has several different categories so that, say, a big increase in clothing costs will affect the CPI but not give the false illusion of total national depression.

That's my understanding of it, anyway. But wait! There's more...

From the US Department of Labor:

"The CPI is often used to adjust consumers' income payments (for example, Social Security) to adjust income eligibility levels for government assistance and to automatically provide cost-of-living wage adjustments to millions of American workers. As a result of statutory action the CPI affects the income of millions of Americans. Over 50 million Social Security beneficiaries, and military and Federal Civil Service retirees, have cost-of-living adjstments tied to the CPI. In addition, eligibility criteria for millions of food stamp recipients, and children who eat lunch at school, are affected by changes in the CPI. Many collective bargaining agreements also tie wage increases to the CPI."

YOWZA! So... because of your "voluntary" response to this intrusive questionnaire (several times in a year!), bunches of union people get lotsa money and great healthcare benefits, food stamp recipients get higher dollar amounts (a raise, mind you, for doing absolutely nothing), Grandma gets more Social Security, AND YOUR WAGES REMAIN CONSTANT. Yeah, that'll help you a lot, Mr. Salaried Worker, as I would *imagine* that everyone else getting more money and your wages remaining the same would contribute to this thing called inflation in the marketplace as goods (unions, remember?) are produced at higher cost. Meanwhile, salaried workers will see their purchasing power DECREASE when minimum wages and food stamp benefits go up.

I think I flunked most of my high school math courses, so if I'm wrong, somebody 'splain how CPI could ever possibly be a good thing to Mrs. C. I have yet to see food stamps or union wages go DOWN, so it must only ever go up based on the numbers. Wouldn't the CPI contribute to inflation in and of itself?

Yep. Somebody please explain all this to me. I have a lot of questions. :)

23 July 2010

Dad's Day




D finds out what's going on at home after work when he reads my blog. I find out what happens when I'm out of the house by looking at anything recently loaded onto our "2010 pictures" file on the computer. Here you see that Rose and Woodjie are good friends. Rose encourages Woodjie to "Go! Go! Go!" and get something she wants outside the gated area when I leave, and Woodjie... well, Woodjie encourages the girl to be a LOT more rambunctious than she would otherwise. She fell down the other day and hit her face on the side of a chair. She put her hands out to the SIDES of her head to catch her fall, which would be hilarious were it not for the fact that she chipped her front tooth. Rose has recently taught Woodjie that people have NAMES, and Woodjie has named Patrick, "Girlie," and "Nonnie" - that's ME! Yep. This morning, I was greeted with, "Ook, Nonnie, a Oak-ee-non." Roughly translated, that's "Look, Mommy, a Pokemon." *sniff*

22 July 2010

New Science Curriculum!

I printed up a sample and left it in with other "get to some other time" stuff for a good long while. I find the extremely involved (find your own platinum bar and 2300-weight brass coil, three lemons and a chickadee egg) experiments to be a bit beyond me in the Lifepac curriculum. It's fun to test which items would be attracted to magnets, but not so easy when one of the experiments casually calls for good ol' Mom to generate electricity with a cardboard tube, some magnets and a bunch of wires. I got the DVD for the set... but I still wasn't pleased with *some* of the books in the fourth grade level. Which is odd, because I thought the science was fun to teach until this year. Some of the experiments are getting harder to implement even under ideal circumstances... which we're not in. And I didn't think that the video "matched" the experiment in the workbook very well at all, so I had to have the children just answer based on the experiment they DID see and just forget the other one.

I don't think it's wrong to choose a curriculum in part because it's easier to teach, knowing that the easier to teach stuff actually gets done. :)

This beginning chemistry curriculum I just ordered seems really cute. It's just at the right level for Emperor and Elf. Want to see a whole chapter online? Here you go. As you can see, there are several other small books for sale. I had a lot of trouble trying to order on this site; it seems to think I have a paypal account and wanted to just send me the stuff... so I had to cancel the order and re-try several times before finally giving up and going to Rainbow Resource Center. I got it there for a little cheaper, too, but I was hoping to buy some of her other things that RRC doesn't sell.

Oh, well.

We've worked through this first chapter and the boys absolutely love it. They're having a bit of trouble adjusting from the blatantly, obviously Christian curriculum that sneaks in questions like, "Who created the heavens and the earth?" into the workbooks every now and then. Questions like that can actually make or break your grade at four points each, so you'd better have your theology straight.

One of the introductory lessons in our new (I'm guessing secular) sample introduced the chemical compound for glucose sugar. I told the boys that the C stands for carbon. Now, what do you think the H stands for?

"HELL!" shouted Emperor.

Um... no. You can't mix HELL with carbon. At least, not that I've ever seen... Emperor was serious, too.

I think it should be an interesting experience, working with something a little less overtly religious. New mindset. Promise we're not pitching God to the curb, but learning some principles over which He is Master. Not to mention, the Atomic Chef is a pretty funny guy featured in the comic section.

21 July 2010

All I Ever Needed to Know About Socialization... I Learned From Facebook

I have bunches of friends from my high school days who are "friends" with me on facebook. Bunches more have figured out that I'm a fundamentalist prig and unfriended me (seriously). They haven't really changed much. Not really. I went and changed, not them.

But it does jar me a bit to see people thinking a young lady being denied the "right" to bring her lesbian girlfriend to the prom is some form of PERSECUTION that requires a status update. I kinda thought that persecution would be more along the lines of being thrown to the lions in the arena or being told that all Tea Partiers are racist because some guy yelled a racial insult at some other guy last spring. Stuff like that.

I've been burned in the comments section before, so I'm not eeeven about to put forth the rational argument that these teens aren't even supposed to even know what a lesbian IS until they go to college and see man-hating "womyn" yelling about some "social issue" or whatever in the college courtyard. By the way, I happen to know that many of these people live in cardboard boxes for a WHOLE DAY in November so that they can fully understand and appreciate the plight of the homeless (and they're "raising awareness in the community," too, because their friends come to visit their boxes and bring Starbucks). Yes, I went to college. I know these things.

So some of my friends from way back will celebrate the healthcare bill passing, or the abomination of desolation that was revealed recently at the temple in Jerusalem or whathaveyou. You can almost tell how long ago I "met" someone by reading their statuses because right nearby, I'll see the statuses of some of my more recently-made Christian friends and their verses of the day. They feature cute kittens, bubbles, and "God loves you" type theology. Never will I see, say, a discussion of what Paul meant by the "baptism of the dead," or a heated debate about glossolalia and the discernment of spirits. Nope.

Mixed in with all of this are my CONSTANT YoVille updates. I love YoVille. But to get extra energy, free gifts and everything else, I have to publish inane posts about 20 times a day in the hopes that someone else will click on the links and "give" me stuff. Anyone looking at my statuses after I'm dead would think that all I did in life was play YoVille and mooch presents and "energy" from my friends, and generally pester everyone for stuff. Hey... when I'm gone, I'm guessing one of my children will inherit the Moroccan palace. Another will get the yacht. They'll fight over who has to walk away with the hillbilly trailer.

Did I mention I have friends I "met" walking around in YoVille who have become my facebook friends? We visit each other's houses all the time.

And Facebook helps you satisfy those wonderings of, "I wonder what happened to so-and-so," and sometimes you wish you could have just remembered some people as they were at 16, but you never know until you "reconnect" with them. And sometimes you get great surprises. I "friended" an old boyfriend, got to see his family in the photo album and chat with him a bit. I discovered that he likes coffee as featured on Oprah. Um, don't click the link unless you are ready to see something verrry interesting.

One thing I've noticed from looking at G's facebook account is that there is a lot of DRAMA going on for the world to see in the teen set. I could imagine myself being grounded and forced to "put on a shirt" if I posted some of the stuff I've seen on his account when I was 13.

As a public service, I must inform you that it's "faggot," not "faget." If you must go around insulting people and embarrassing yourself in front of your 357 friends, at least spell it correctly. Thanks.

20 July 2010

The Secret of the Shoe

Once upon a time long, long ago, Elf and Emperor accidentally busted a beanbag full of rice. Instead of ohh, I don't know, cleaning it up with a broom or asking for help, they decided the best thing to do would be to hide it here in this slipper so that they wouldn't get into "trouble." It was supposed to be a *secret,* they told me. I was never supposed to find out. I guess they thought I would NEVER go into their closet, or that winter would never get here next year, necessitating my sorting through our slipper and shoe collection. How logical.
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"What else was supposed to be a secret?" I asked them. Welllll, they broke my plastic flute. See? Elf tried to tape it, but it doesn't really work. Ok, I had them throw that into the trash.
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Anything else? Umm... they collect little plastic beads, they told me. I had them show them to me and sure enough, their "collection" is really evidence that Emperor's stuffed "Torchik" animal was leaking little white pellets ALL OVER THE HOUSE. I sewed this. Siiigh.
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"Ok. Elf, now that I've cleaned the slipper out, please try it on." Elf absolutely refused, claiming Emperor peed in the slipper as well!
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"DID YOU??" I asked Emperor.
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"No! I NEVER peed in any shoe of any kind, ever!"
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Ok, so what did you pee into? And Emperor brought me some household items "that nobody was using." And nobody WILL be using. I called D in to come listen to the revelations I was hearing here and do you know what he did? He just sent everyone to bed, that's what. I guess I can understand his perspective. I was kinda wondering what the NEXT secret would be... D says he doesn't want to know. Ever.

17 July 2010

Hello! :)

Well.

It's been hard to settle down to write. Woodjie can not only climb over the gate, he can climb over it in less than TWO seconds. One of G's workers observed that he can jump over it "like a little deer."

So... I know it doesn't seem like it should take that much time to teach him to "Quit doing that!" but it DOES. It just DOES.

Woodjie runs like wildfire, careens down the stairs and emerges with the toilet plunger. That is his fave thing to steal and run around with, though sometimes he'll operate the television or grab the giant blue ball and try to "hide" it behind the couch as though Mom would never notice.

Good grief. He does this WHILE I'M WATCHING, but I can TELL that he waits and times it so that I am indisposed changing Rose's diaper or dealing with other chaos. And he has the biggest smile, like he's getting away with something. And he's going to get hurt or lost at this rate! Arg.

Anyway, we're working on it. Often.

Lately when I have a calm moment, I just like to sit near him and loudly announce that I'm so happy that I will never have to deal with another "Blondie kiss" again, because those are so frightening. Almost without fail, Woodjie will sneak up on me and smooch my cheek, and I pretend to be very scared of the horrendous "Blondie." He loves scaring me. I get hugs during this game, too.

In homeschool time, Elf and Emperor had an assignment to write about how they can do better at home. One of my homeschoolers punched me the other day... and it had better never happen again. They were both pretty naughty. I know this probably never happens in your home and that your children would never even think of hitting Mom out of anger. Maybe you'd better read another blog, because our family strives for Christlikeness but fails quite frequently.

Emperor's entry:

"The Bible, in Exodus, tells about honoring parents. Because in the Bible there are ten commandments. One of them is, honor your parents. There's also don't worship Idols. Don't commit adaltry, Don't lie, Don't murder. Don't steal. and Ect. I disobeyed honor your parents. Eventally when I did it to much, Mom took my cuddly wuddly Torchic. And Dad (disciplined) me! I got sent to bed for the rest of the day. I can have Torchic back at tuesday morning. I'm very close to nine. and if I keep it up me and Moms friendship will be cut off. But today I'm writing this very Paper because Mommy said so. But I'm obeying my parent so I'm obeying Jesus Christ. I'm sure I'tll never happen ever again."

Elf's entry:

"I can be a help by watching the babies for my mom. I can be a help by obeying my mom, for example, if she tells me to eat lima beans, (witch I'm sure she wouldn't do that) I will eat them (Mabe not). I will do whatever she says. Thank you mom! You have done so much for me and I haven't been so nice to you mom so tell me what I have to do and I will do it.

The end."

So... should I get some lima beans out just to see what will happen? I love my children... I really do. I hope they learn to BE NICE soon, because we've had too many crabby woozles of late here. :)

15 July 2010

Sexy Senior Photo Shoot!

It seems to me that the senior pics feature mostly girls in outfits that are too form-fitting or in positions that are... suggestive. THIS ad, addressed to Patrick from the foo-foo old-fashioned place on the town square that is trying to revamp its image, I intercepted and threw into the trash. Can you picture trying to explain the "Grandma just went through an oral phase" thing to the grandkids later when they look at the old yearbooks? Have a little shame, ladies!

13 July 2010

Sermon Notes

Rock ON, Mrs. C! Let's read those "Sermon Notes!" It's the kind of thing that makes blog reading interesting! WooooOOOO - yeah!

Sorry to disappoint you, but they aren't MY sermon notes. If they were, this would be a very, very long post and truth to tell, you probably wouldn't read the whole thing and I'd waste my time and effort posting it for your edification. But since I wasn't able to make it to church this Sunday, PATRICK took it upon himself, WITHOUT EVEN BEING ASKED, to write some notes for me.

Isn't that sweet? I'm going to just go ahead and share the knowledge that was imparted this last week at my church. Maybe the Holy Spirit will make what Pastor had to say very real in your heart, and you will come to a saving knowledge of Christ, etc. etc. (Make sure to tell me in the comment section if you prayed the salvation prayer so I can send you a free brochure and sic the prayer team on you.) Ready? Ok. Here goes:

"God...

I...

The...

They...

Without...

It's...

These...

And...

Imagine...

Sometimes...

You...

But...

He...

Man, some flying bug was just buzz'n around my face.

That...

Do...

We're going to hit on...

Um...

A...

After...

What?! I'm not crazy!

I'm..."

So, am I seeing you in church next Sunday? Sending you a "I just prayed a prayer" brochure in the mail? Are ya feeling the Spirit moving through these notes or what? I just know you found last Sunday's message to be as thought-provoking and inspiring as I did.

12 July 2010

I Can NOT Believe This.


"Do you want a WRITING HAT?" I asked Mystery Child Who Is Incognito for This Blog Post.
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The problem with some of Mom's questions is that she won't say what a "writing hat" is, but she'll make you wear it if you say yes. Sometimes though, the "writing hat" or "snuuuufie-zoozle" or whatever Mom is offering is something really, really cool you won't want to miss out on if you say no.
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Mystery Child decided that he didn't want to take a chance on the WRITING HAT, but would do his journal entry today without it.
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"Emperor, do you want a WRITING HAT?" I asked.
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"Um..." he thought for a bit. "Sure. I'll try it." The adventurous boy was presented with this bunny hat and proceeded to write about the circus show he and Elf gave to the family the other day.
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Mystery Child, who is umm... about Elf's age and pictured in the lower picture, became absolutely furious. It's HIS bunny hat. He should get to wear it. It isn't fair and now he will NEVER do his journal entry unless I give him HIS bunny hat.
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"It's ok," Emperor said to me. "He can have it if he wants."
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Well, no. It is NOT ok with me. Mystery Child is going to have to learn that he does NOT have to have the bunny hat, for crying out loud. Mystery Child had a big, horrendous temper tantrum. This was complete with lots of stomping, furious yelling and finally his crying in his bed after he was sent to his room.
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I was left feeling bewildered. After a good ten minutes, I went upstairs and asked him, "You DO know that you are rolling and screaming about a bunny hat for a toddler, don't you?" Mystery Child, for a brief moment, caught the humour in the situation and laughed.
*
Then he told me that it wasn't funny, because it was his FAVOURITE bunny hat. I can NOT believe that I am writing this. I took several pictures of Mystery Child during his temper tantrum... but Mystery Child thinks that it will be ok to post to the blog if I left his name out.
*
So here's the post. Does this happen at your place, too?

11 July 2010

Mummified Cat!







To make our mummified cat, we took some old socks and a ripped-up playpen sheet and soaked them in hot tea water overnight. I'd recommend very hot water and more tea; our socks just wound up looking skunky dirty instead of "antiqued." After we let our wrappings dry, we cut ears out of one sock and sewed them onto the other. Then we stuffed the head with old cloth diapers, tied it up, stuffed the body and wrapped the sheet strips around it. We also were supposed to find sea glass and other things to use for amulets, but we used shiny buttons and (appropriately) an old cat tag instead. Emperor drew the Eye of Horus that is visible in the top picture. We had a lot of fun with this project. We got the idea from this craft book on Ancient Egypt.

09 July 2010

Childhood Memories

Looking back on her childhood photographs, Rose will likely come to the conclusion that her parents didn't love her very much. There isn't much in the way of pictures of this kid. The few photos we've been able to get of her doing fun things... turn out like this. Does a two-year-old need privacy to wear a balloon hat? What is up with that?

Anyone Else Out There?

I'm going through an awful time. I'm very bitter about it.

I'm starting to realize that things are always going to be hard for me. That they may get better than they are now, but they will never be ALL BETTER. I don't mean the perfect all-better of heaven. I mean all-better enough to pass for normal. Family outings. Pleasant conversations.

I will never be able to take Woodjie to a restaurant and have him behave. I will never have a friend who wants to come over and spend time with me. My children will never have a regular playdate.

And worst, worst, worst of all is that no one will ever help us in our difficult situation. I don't even have a family that understands.

I know... it sounds like a lot of woe is me going on and Mrs. C needs to just get over it. But I'm upset.

I'm upset that here I have the diagnosis I need to get services, but I'm too rich to get the services that we all pay for poor people to get. I have insurance that should cover the stuff Woodjie needs, but it DOESN'T because of the magical loopholes of the law. So tough crap for Woodjie. Tough crap. Pay for everyone else's Medicaid, and pay for everyone else's operations and stuff through private insurance, but get NOTHING back for Woodjie.

Nothing. Yes, I believe businesses should be able to conduct themselves as they please, but I also think that if I'm paying for poor folks to get something that is not covered by my insurance, but is prohibitively expensive, that it's rather unfair to give the Medicaid recipient $27,000 for services and Woodjie, the child of real-live taxpayers, should receive NOTHING because his dad was a fool and did that "job, savings, insurance" thing.

I'm telling you, it's a devastating feeling.

I'd probably love to go and enroll my child in a preschool in the hopes that someone, somewhere might at least *help* us teach social skills to Woodjie, or help us with potty training. I know when I'm in over my head. I'm willing to admit it... I need help. I'm trying and trying but this is NOT happening. I guess I had no clue how to potty train anyone. I have these four older children who can wipe their own bottoms and stuff... but now I realize I have NO CLUE how to teach Woodjie. I checked a book out of the library on teaching autistic children this skill and they say brilliant things like "wait until the child is developmentally ready."

Arg!

Do you think anyone wants to take Woodjie? Um, nope. Even the PUBLIC preschool is talking about setting up daycare after school, but they specifically exclude children that soak up staff time. Children like Woodjie.

Dang, if anyone is going to (supposedly) champion the underdog and the oppressed, it should be the public school. Nope. They want to empower working moms to leave their easy-to-raise children in an institution for the "socialization." Children like mine who really DO need extra help with socialization and really COULD benefit from someone who has special training? Can go rot.

Not that I'm bitter or anything. Well, I'm more than a little bitter. I feel like no matter what I do or where I go, we're discriminated against. Mrs. C really needs to snap out of it and somehow manage to do everything here at home. I need to make my home a more pleasant place physically and emotionally. Lord knows with my bladder, as Woodjie ages I will not be able to even leave this house, so might as well make the best of it. Think I can leave Woodjie outside the public bathroom door alone at 13? Or do you think I can take him in with me? Ha. I'm overwhelmed thinking of things like "how to get groceries" later, even if the funds were unlimited.

And I'm looking at my likely future and I just can't get past it. I'm starting to leave clutter on the sacred dining room table because I reason I will just get it messy tomorrow. And who cares. If you know me, you know that means I am seriously, seriously depressed.

My child is three! I should be enjoying the snuggles instead of crying and screaming.

Ok. I could watch some YouTube videos and do cheap Wal-Mart therapy here at home. If I had a bit more time, I might even get good at it. But I am really having a hard time with the potty thing and some of my web searches haven't yielded what I have expected. Dear world, YOU ARE SICK. Go get some help. Really. I should be able to google stuff about autistic boys pooping in the toilet without all this.

And parents, I appreciate some of the very hard postings you made of your older autistic children. But you might want to disable comments next time. It just burns my soul to see you expose your children and your lives like this, and then read "retard" and things like that in the comment area.

I see my future. I want to change it so, so badly.

Howcome other parents of seriously affected children are much more cheerful? Do they go through a really hard time and then feel better?

Because I'm going through a really hard time.

07 July 2010

Small Update.

We'll see if the power stays on long enough for me to say "hello" to you after you comment.

I received a phone call from a fellow who knew my name and said that he was from KCP&L, our power company. The power will go off around 5 pm tonight and stay off for several hours or even days. The system is overloaded, he explained, and so people in my neighbourhood will just be shut off while they do something or other.

Great. You know, that's a reallllly great way to solve the problem of having too much strain on the ol' power company. You can improve efficiency by shutting off neighbourhoods. Hey, maybe you can run at 100% efficiency by just shutting everyone off! That would work. Make sure to do it during the hottest days of the year. Thanks.

At least it's not January, I guess... but I'm not happy about it. I called my neighbour (who has a fragile child in a wheelchair) to tell her about it and she freaked out. They will either have to give her power or the fire department will have to come over with a generator, she said. Well... not to freak you out, but thought I'd make sure you heard about this...

She called back later to say that she has spoken with about everyone in the neighbourhood AND the power company, and it appears I've been prank called.

Yay, but I sure hope so! But... wouldn't it be better to have asked me for a social security number or a credit card number? Surely you shouldn't let an opportunity like that just go by. Then again, that would alert me instantly to the fact that it was a prank call.

So who knows?

I stuck all the frozens into the big freezer downstairs, and we'll just see what happens. Meanwhile, I've been teaching Elf and Emperor about Ancient Egypt. We did a "make a mummy" game that was a lot of fun. It says that it is graphic, but it really isn't. There's one piece that has intestines drawn in, and another with the brain being removed. But it is so cartoon-y that it is nowhere near disturbing. I'd recommend it.

We also did FOUR math lessons (whew) so that we could finish the sixth-grade Teaching Textbooks. The seventh-grade stuff has already been ordered from CBD. The boys are tired from all that math today, but they can't wait. Emperor says he wonders what's inside! I told him that I was certain that it was... math stuff.

We're working on our Rod and Staff grammar book and have begun Bob Jones 5 Spelling. I want to concentrate more on writing this year, so please check Emperor and Elf's blogs if you're inclined to say hi to young writers and leave a comment.

Do you do portfolios in your homeschool? This is a cute link on how to do one. It concerns younger children, but I'm sure the same idea can be applied with older students as well.

06 July 2010

Ancient Egyptian Tomb Wall

The goddess Nut is clearly depicted in this Ancient Egyptian tomb painting. She sits near the Eye of Horus. Isis and assorted symbols, including the symbol of life, are in the lower portion of the tomb wall. The colours have been remarkably well-preserved for thousands of years.

03 July 2010

Woodjie



has just been diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. But the team remarked that for having this degree of difficulty in his daily living, he has VERY good eye contact. Hey, it's better than good; admit it. It's a big deal. I figure that if I can get him LOOKING over to what I want him to see at least a good part of the time, that I will be able to communicate with him more. He can now say "warrr" for water when he wants a drink. What he really wants is "juice," but he can abandon hope on that most of the time. He would drink gallons of juice and play "too-too sanes" and "ah-loons" all day if he could.

02 July 2010

FREE MONEY!

Whoops, sorry. You must run a public school to qualify.

Already, there are companies sidling up to the trough to oink big. In fact, you could download your very own "Stimulus Investment Planning Guide" from Scholastic (tm). Click here and then search for "stimulus package." It's second on the results list. Inside, you'll find insider tips on how you should spend lots of money on Scholastic (tm) products:

"As a partner to American schools for almost 90 years, Scholastic recognizes that strategic planning and investments in education are good for schools and good for the country. Together, we can use this historic moment to create significant and sustainable gains in student achievement."

*sniff*

That moved me almost as much as an Obama speech. Historic moment. Together. Good for the country. God bless America.

Whoops, not allowed to say that last one. My bad.

But seriously, folks. That doesn't look like "spending on staff" to me! But we're supposed to magically keep our teachers employed with stimulus money? Um, are the teachers all going to work for Scholastic (tm)? I hope not! Their stuff is mostly crap! :)

YOU Can Prevent Abuse at School

I think we all know there are some things that are wrong, no matter what the law says. Used to be you could legally buy and sell slaves at the courthouse up the street from me. Today, it's legal for certified teachers to lock children into closets. Our local high school even has paddling procedures outlined. As long as they avoid the face and hands, it's legally OK when a teacher treats a child this way.

But it's no way to treat a human being.

I've contacting you in regards to SB 2860, a bill that would reduce the incidences of restraint and seclusion in public schools. Sad to say, but we need a bill that will give children the same rights that prisoners and mental health patients take for granted.

I have a three-year-old who was diagnosed yesterday with severe autism, and I'd like to be able to send him to school when he is older. But I might not be able to do that in good conscience without your help.

The preschool is wonderful in this district, but the elementaries have a nasty practice of locking children in closets when they "misbehave." My older son Elf is autistic and at the age of six would hide under the desk and that sort of thing when he felt overwhelmed. Rather than figure out a way to meet his needs, they set up a confrontation and would drag him to a locked closet for noncompliance. This made the problem behaviours at school worse.

I have been homeschooling him for nearly four years now, and I can tell you that a smaller class would have been perfect for him. He doesn't receive any special services; he just needed a calmer environment without the threat of physical violence.

Needless to say, I have not felt the need to lock my child in a cement closet during his schooling at home. Surely if an untrained parent can figure out how to not abuse a child, our teachers should be required to purchase a clue about how to treat people humanely.

Elf is now ten and afraid of "school." He wants to wear his homeschool shirts all the time so that no one will think he is truant and take him away. What he has been through has affected his perception of who "safe people" are and the nature of people in the helping professions. I'd sure like to spare my younger son these sorts of phobias. I don't really want to homeschool a non-verbal child, but I CANNOT put him somewhere I think he will be abused... let alone into a place where he will be abused and I have no legal recourse.

Can you help? It would be so much appreciated.

Most sincerely,
Mrs. C's real name

***
That was my note to MO Senator Claire McCaskill.

My dear readers, will you do something for me? Will you contact your state senator and advocate for the passage of SB 2860? It simply mandates the same level of protection for schoolchildren that someone in, say, a hospital or other public place would have against being shoved into closets, tied to chairs, and sat upon. It DOES NOT prevent necessary force, any more than it prevents security from doing something to you if you acted up in the emergency room. It just makes what teachers can do and can't do clearer. It will help children in states like mine that give teachers and administrators total leeway to lock the more difficult to educate (read: disabled) children into closets and otherwise not provide them with the free public education to which they are entitled.

I'll celebrate when this law is passed, and then I'll circle 'round about the blogs when I catch wind of something that will prevent the heinous practice of paddling in schools. It should never be ok to abuse a child. Please help by contacting your senator. Want to find out more? Here's a link to get started.

Star Trek Roller Skating!

Woodjie LOVES the audience.  I made these little outfits for the children and they danced to the Star Trek: Next Generation theme...