Hiding From the Label

Reprimanded at a Restaurant.

Reprimanded at a Restaurant.

Sometimes, my being a former teacher is a detriment to my children. Normally, when they come home with stories and tales, I ask for or give them the teacher’s perspective before accepting their cries of injustice. They hate that. Always, I put myself in the shoes of the person at the front of the class before making any judgements as a parent. I KNOW parents get a different side to the story then what really happens. I know this, so I temper everything I hear from inside those classrooms with a heavy dose of perspective.

Sometimes, that may not be what’s best for my child.

We’ve struggled, all year with The Baby and his behavior in school. Simply put, (although, there is nothing simple about it) he doesn’t want to do much of the work and often acts out in increasingly loud and violent (to himself) ways in frustration. This frustration with school isn’t entirely new, but the behaviors have reached a level that must be addressed for the sake of everyone involved. As a parent, I want to wrap him in a blanket, carry him out and either begin homeschooling or fork over my entire full-time salary for a different school immediately. As a former teacher, I know there is more to the story, and so I go through the steps necessary to figure out how this kid can stay at this school without damaging himself or others in the process.

This is not an easy task.

We’ve been to the specialists. We’ve met with the teams. We’ve changed diet and routine. We’ve sought answers at every turn. We’ve hashed out plans and accommodations. We’ve read and written emails, some helpful and kind, some downright nasty. I’ve been proud of my behavior sometimes and others, embarrassed by it. I’ve been frustrated, confused, angry, sad, elated on the good days and just plain wiped out on the bad. Our big-hearted little dude has worked his head off trying to manage his moods and figure out how to best live in an environment that is clearly not suited to his character.

GriffOcean2We’ve heard all the labels. We’ve even gotten one, this one from the second psychiatrist, in order to proceed with the special education process to hopefully make school a little less torturous for student and teacher. No one, most of all his parents,  is entirely sure the label fits this boy,  and the accommodations that go with it are inconsistent at best, but it’s there so we proceed.

Here is the problem, we, his mom (the former teacher) and dad, think we know exactly what’s up with our kid, but with my history in schools, I’m afraid to say it out loud, for it’s often a dirty word in education circles. Continue Reading

Spring Break Fun at Liberty Science Center-

LSC1The kids were home all week and the plan was to work from home in the mornings and then plan family fun in the afternoon. Then, I got slammed with the plague on Friday and spent the first few days of break flat out on the couch,  neither working nor having family fun. I have some strange holiday-sickness jinx I think!

I was able to manage to rally one day so we could head in to our favorite, The Liberty Science Center. This is my first trip with the kids where I wasn’t also working at an event, so I was actually pretty excited about this trip.

If only she could have diagnosed and medicated me!

If only she could have diagnosed and medicated me!

Liberty Science Center is one of those magical places where all three of my charges, no matter their age difference, can find something they love and I get in on the action as well. This time, we all jumped in the wind tunnel inside the Sky Scrapers exhibit. Everyone took a turn of the Rubik’s Cube in its last few days thereLSC2

and of course, at the Sesame Street Body Exhibit,  I once again learned that you’re never too old for Elmo.

LSCDFSSThe place was more crowded than I’ve ever seen but we all still were able to test out everything we wanted and even had a seat for lunch! I’m so glad I was able to drag myself out of the house for one day of this break. Laughing and learning at LSC made looking at everyone’s tropical vacation pictures on Facebook that much easier!
LSCDGRK

Want to take your brood to laugh and learn at LSC? I have four free tickets to give away so you can!  Just leave a comment below about your favorite activity to do with your kids and I’ll pick a winner early next week.

**Update: Congratulations to our winner!

 

Lame Duck

The Sun is Setting on This Chapter...Slowly.

The Sun is Setting on This Chapter…Slowly.

So, I’m leaving my job next month and now everyone knows it so my position has taken on that strange role of not really here anymore but still taking up desk space. I finally understand the phrase “lame duck”. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty to do and I’m doing it. But, the overall days seem full of false starts as we talk about new programs that I really shouldn’t start because I won’t be around to finish them.

Luckily, there are a few projects left to complete and I’m busy making lists for the next people so they aren’t totally in the dark as I was when I was new. I purposely didn’t give just two weeks because I wanted there to be a transition that made sense for the community and the new person(s) taking over. I don’t regret that decision, but I will say this long, drawn out goodbye is slowly killing me. Leaving is the right thing to do, but it isn’t easy. I will so miss the families that I have gotten to know and just the very luxury of working at a beautiful facility that is surrounded by reminders of God’s love has been an immeasurable gift. Leaving is going to leave a cut, and slowly pulling off the bandaid isn’t helping at all with the healing.

 

Yes, I Do ALL This and I Am Just Fine

ElmoLSCI was at an event this weekend with a bunch of Power Social Media Moms and it was glorious. Sure, the backdrop was amazing. The Liberty Science Center was our playground for the day and parents and kids alike delighted in all that LSC has to offer, and believe me, they have a lot to offer, including Elmo. Who doesn’t love Elmo?

The reason I enjoyed the event so much was bigger than just the cool experiments and looks of utter glee on the children’s faces. I loved this event because the moms that were present make me feel normal anytime I am with them. They are all entrepreneurs, some in addition to working for a corporate entity during regular business hours. All of these women are busy, like not enough hours in the day busy. They are all devoted parents that balance motherhood with a healthy dose of self-identity. They have all answered, often begrudgingly, the question, “how do you do all that you do?”.

Most importantly, they are all happy. They know the life they’ve chosen looks hectic to the outside world, but they are all  sure they have the best gig going. They all support one another in their choices because they know support doesn’t exist everywhere and part of being a Super Power Mom is lifting up other  moms, all moms. These women, these super-busy, powerful, smart and funny women, accept me as their own, without question and I love it. These girls, they get me.

Wristbands Awaiting Power Moms

Wristbands Awaiting Power Moms

It seems no matter how great the people in my life are, I often feel the need to explain myself. I don’t have a traditional job. Hell, I don’t even have only one job. I haven’t had one job since I was 12 and answering phones at our church in the evenings and that was while I was in school and playing sports all day. When people as me what I do, my first response is to chuckle and say, “When?”.

I’ve spent my life constantly dipping my fingers (or even diving head first) into new things and trying on different roles. Somedays it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but most days, it all feels exactly like the best life for me. And yet a lot of people can’t really understand or accept that. They say I have too much on my plate. They ask how I handle it all. They don’t think I am particularly good at anything because they can’t label any one thing that I do. They look at me cross-eyed as I run from here to there keeping up with all the blessings in my life. LSCFamilies

Because they are blessings. Busy, is a blessing. Opportunities are a gift. There is nothing in my packed life that I wish I had said no to. Being busy means you pretty quickly learn the art of saying no to things that just don’t fit the big plan. And whether the outside observer believes it or not, I am very clear on my plan.

Suck the marrow out of life every chance I get. It’s pretty simple.

I think I might add to it: spend more time with people who get my plan so I can spend less time explaining or justifying or defending who I am. I am busy. I am blessed. I am a whole lot of things at any different time.
Most importantly, I am happy doing what I do and being exactly who I am, especially when I’m with women who get that.