Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Assumptions Make a What Outa Who?

I'm an easy-going person. I try to 'roll with it' and give people the benefit of the doubt. I haven't always been like that--I've had my share of foot-in-mouth syndrome...some so bad that I think about them every now and then and cringe. Those moments of impulsive jumps-to-conclusion have made me more aware of possibilities of situations. Unfortunately, I'm willing to say most people don't withhold their judgments. Those such people exist in large numbers in the field of education. Too many educators think they have all the answers. Their knowledge is infinite and runs deeper than yours, so sit back and pay attention! This was the case with my move from one school to another (changed my SPED focus). People assumed that because I was new to the school that I was new to the profession. I got all kinds of advice, input, and suggestions--all unsolicited. I'm not one to say, "I know," because I don't like implying that I know everything already, but how many times was I tempted??? Practically the entire school year! Little did they know I had been a teacher already, had the credentials long obtained, and had a post-graduate education. Since I'm not going to wear that information on my forehead, I had to suffer through the do-gooders, even though much of the time I had to correct them because THEY were wrong. Oh well.
But now I'm in a class (yes, another class) at FSU, and it's instructed by a recent doctoral graduate. If there's one class of people who think they know it all it's the newly graduated doctors of whatever. I even mentioned that to the department head at FSU without saying it directly and she finished the sentence for me. So I'm not way off base. This instructor, and I call her that because teacher seems so small for a university, makes all kinds of assumptions and causes me to grit my teeth through class. She's telling me how to teach MY students, though she's never met them...she's telling me what is good practice and what is bad even though she's never taught in a classroom and really doesn't know...she's the first to drop her 'researched facts' on me though I can find research that counters her statements. Argh! I want to stand up and yell "I'm in the trenches, lady, and you don't know what you are talking about!!" But she would find some research to argue that point as well. She's not sharing 'ideas' or offering a variety of methods for us to select and use in class...she's literally saying "That doesn't work," even though it works like a dream for my students to their benefit. So I have to stomach her for this semester and next semester since she teaches the ONLY other class I have to take to be completely done with my 2nd credential. There are also lots of teachers who think they've got the answers. When I mentioned to two teachers that I received a new student who belonged in their program (a more restrictive environment), they were quick to give me tips on instruction, how to deal with him, how I have to give it a try...blah blah blah. I just sat staring at them like, "Are you for real?" Did I ASK for methods in dealing with him? No, I read this boy's education plan, psych assessments, and met him and knew right away he was not a good fit for my program. "Give him a chance..." they say. I was redeemed when the principal at their school received his paperwork for the referral to move him and without observing him(which is part of the process) said, "Get him over here now and get him a one on one!" See? I know SOMETHING...just not everything.
Only my children think I know everything and it's gonna stay that way!
For everyone else, I will pretend to act uninformed on the topics (in which I am well-read) being spewed at me so I don't come off as a know-it-all, but in reality...your sentence has already been finished in my head.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Last night Ty was telling some bomb jokes. Garon stepped in a couple of times with a joke. "Where do cows live?" "COW-lifornia!" Ty gives us that one along with some others he made up that didn't quite get the laughs but were still pretty clever. Kindsay is dying to get in on this. "Dad! Dad! I have a joke! Knock knock" Greg answers: Who's there? K:"Dora" G: Dora Who? K: Dora and her brother and sister.
OK-so Kindsay doesn't quite get the joke concept, but that's typical of kids like Kindsay. You can tell she's missing the humor gene when we have family pics of everyone laughing while her face is deadpan straight. But she's not the only one with interesting issues.
Ty is determined to freak us all out with his love of girly things. I asked him one day "what do you like to do at recess?" Ty answers: all the boys play superheroes, but I like to play house with Alexandria..(a girl in his class.) I say, Oh, why don't you like superheroes? Ty: I don't know, I just like house. My pretend name is Sprinkles but I want to change it to Rainbow.
I tried to explain to Ty that he needs to work at playing with all the kids and how certain behaviors become targets for bullying and to be careful. The next day I asked him again what he played at recess "Animals." Relieved I said, Great Ty! What animal were you? Ty: "A butterfly" So we didn't get that far into the boy games, unless his pretend butterfly's name was Rocky. In any case, we have to accept that he just has interests of a more delicate nature. Garon, on the other hand, fought with Kindsay over a slap bracelet. I thought 'oh no, now Garon wants jewelry...what the heck?' I look over to see Garon had won the battle for the bracelet and used it to bind his bad guy in a make-believe arrest.
Then there's Garon who thinks the absoute world of himself. After a night of cub scouts and hard play, he was dripping with sweat and Greg pointed it out. Garon responded: "That's okay, I look good anyway. In fact, I pretty much look good all the time." If it wasn't for the fact that I saw Garon check himself out one day and do the finger lick and sizzle on his behind, I would've thought Greg was exaggerating.
I'm so happy my children are all unique and I can celebrate their differences, but where the heck did they come from?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kindsay's Day Out

I have to chronicle all Kindsay's events now because she's getting older and turning into a teenager and, well, it's getting interesting to say the least. Case in point: So Kindsay gets butt-load of cash for her birthday (thank you all who pitched in) and it's making her pockets itch. She bursts in my room all dressed one Saturday and announces that she is going shopping with a friend (whose name I will leave out.) She's got on the right outfit, except the purse she's using is a doll baby bag. Stunned from the outburst (why do I not expect these?), I look at her like, "Oookaaaaaaaaaay." She storms out (she walks as though she is storming, so when she is really mad, look out.) I called out that I had to talk with the friend's parents first, find out WHO SHE IS for starters, and find out when/where..all the wh's. Kindsay tells me they are going to the mall and they are on their way. The girl's 19-yr-old sister is driving them. She goes into the front yard to watch for this girl while I am trying to get a handle on what's going on...clearly the "handle" is oily. Finally, Kindsay, who carries the phone with her because apparently it's hers now, comes up to me and thrusts the phone in my face. "It's my friend, here...talk talk talk, talk to her." I take the phone and ask, Hello? On the other line is the friend's 19-yr-old sister. "Uh yes, we're just wondering what your cross streets are?" I answer, 'okay, first I need to know what is going on. I don't know where you are going, and what times?' Hesitant, the sister responds, "I thought you knew. Kindsay called us and told us to come take her to the mall, we assumed you knew." I tell you what...I'm going to have those old lady lips way sooner than I should because of all the pursing I do. I apologize and explain to them that I am NEVER aware of Kindsay's decisions and that they don't have to take her. "Oh that's okay, we're all going and we're just getting dressed. We'll come by and get her." aye. So I approve this because of all the trouble they're going through. Kindsay is determined...she's chewing her fingers, eyes flitting all around the streets waiting for this friend and family to come take her to purchase-heaven. If I had said NO you can't go because you...etc., I would've been talking to the wall, so I saved my breath. Kindsay sat outside waiting...TWO HOURS LATER the family Toyota van pulls up with a load of people. OK..so picture it...Kindsay (tall, Amazonian, blond) sitting amongst a little family of Hmongs (small, dark, Asian) on her way to the mall. A car full of baboons could've pulled up and she would've gotten in...not that this little friend resembles in any way...it's just that when they pulled up, Kindsay got in without checking to see who was in it! I wave out to them, worried worried worried. I gave Kindsay a cell phone and one of my purses and away she went.
So 2 hours later I decide it's time to check on her. I imagined her little band of friend and family was getting tired of Kindsay's...uniqueness?..."Kindsay, what are you guys doing? Are you ready to come home?" Answer: 'oh oh oh..MOM! The boy, he got lost and the police they took him and he had handcuffs and the sister had to pay a lot a lot a lot of money and the boy..he was with the police and he's my friend's cousin and I don't know why he was there I just don't know but the sister was mad and all the family everyone was cussing and cussing and smoking, and I said EW that stinks! and ohhhh, it just stinks when they smoke and..." I am trying to make sense of all this. So what she's telling me is the band of shoppers (small group of Hmongs with their leader, Kindsay, sticking up in the middle) gets separated from cousin, who then shoplifts, gets caught and causes the sister to have to pay a hefty fine to get him released, which made her ticked and triggered the foul mouth and need to smoke. Needless to say, when Kindsay pulled up with the family, I was livid that she didn't even make a purchase, relieved that she didn't shoplift, and convinced that going shopping with the 19-yr-old sister was a bad idea. Where was the little voice inside that nudges me at bad ideas? Oh yeah, it was smushed by the pulsating of Kindsay's determined voice in my ears. Let's just get that money spent already.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Birthdays-- Cash only, checks not accepted.

As you know, Ty's birthday was Sept. 11. He turned 7, which seems like I've been telling people he's 7 already so...whoops. That also means my house turned 7...and all that comes with it! Ty had a small family party since he had the big blow-out last year with all the kids in his class. It took him a day of mourning to adjust to the idea of NOT getting 25 presents, then he was fine and actually loved all his gifts. In fact, when he blew out his candles, we asked what he wished for and his reply: "All my wishes already came true!" OK...that was the perfect thing to say because then Aunt Britney went out and bought him a robe, which is what he's always wanted. I know, not the first thing you think of when little boy comes to mind, but Ty, for those of you that know him, is not a typical baby. He's an artist, a daydreamer, a child of wide interests--from rainbows and tiaras, hula skirts and wands, swords and wrestling, soccer and of course DRAWING...he knows no bounds.
Then there's our favorite second child Kindsay. The BIG 13!! The 14th year is the most difficult for a girl, so I am only seeing the rise of the Tsunami at this point. Drowning comes next year. She has already begun the non-stop talking on the phone! And of course, she's talking to other girls from her special ed class so it's like 2 different conversations going at the same time and at the end they are both crying and mad at each other only to make up the next morning. I can hear screaming down the hall in her room, screaming angriness, then crying--bawling..'I thought you were my friend, but you're not! bwahhhhh!' I'm sure the other little girl's mom is thinking the same thing: What the he**??? Anyway, so she's 13 as of yesterday and this kid only wants cash....cash people--even a single dollar bill will receive the same reception as a new car to a 16-yr-old. Good thing my family knows this. It started out on Thursday. My dad came by with a card. She tore it out of his hand and ripped the card open while tipping it upside down to allow bills to flow out. $25..."yay! oh my gosh, a $20 bill! Look what I have...!" All the while my dad is standing there waiting for some acknowledgement. Kindsay only continues to smell her cash and count the 2 bills over and over and over. I get her to read the card which is really girly and cute, and she likes it, but I had to almost take the cash to get her to look at grandpa to say thanks. Next day, her birthday. Kindsay's grandparents in Utah sent her cash. They knew that sending a check would not have the same affect so they chanced it with cash...and what a pay-off. It was $40...a 20 bill, a 10 bill, a 5 bill, and 5 ones. Again, she dumps the card onto her lap. Out flows the money: "Oh! A 20! a 10! a 5! and a one a one a one a one and a one! ohhhhhh, I have 20 dollars. oh yeah baby (sniff money)...(wicked laugh)...ohhhhh, 20 and 10 and 5 and some dollars...how much do I have? I think it's like 20 and some dollars, ohhhh I'm rich! (waves, sniffs, fans herself with cash)..." You can imagine her complete glee when I tell her she has a total of $65...heart attack! That night I went to my mom's to get her gift since she was out of town. My mom warned me--Kindsay isn't going to like it, it's NOT cash! Sure enough, she rips open the card, dumping the emptiness onto her lap. "Oh, I do NOT like this, no oh no no no...there is no money." Instead she pulls out of the gift bag a full length flannel nightgown. Now, we as family members love this gift. We are tired of Kindsay's underwear parade and crotch in the air as she bites her toenails. Maybe she'll wear this one because the others are 'old'...oh no, but someone does enjoy it. Guess who? Yep--Ty. When I get my desktop computer that has my pics downloaded onto it back online (this is my work laptop I'm using) I'll give you the proof you need to see not only Ty in his robe of dreams, which I now use as leverage to get him to clean his room, but also in a new love--the nightgown. sigh. Thankfully it's not rainbow colored and sparkly because then he'd NEVER take it off. Kindsay is cash only, and she's serious about that...so next weekend is her big friend party at the bowling alley and yeah, she'll like her gifts because she loves opening gifts, but if you drop in a buck, you are the friend of the year.