Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 111 Singin' Away

Yep, much to the chagrin of those around me, I've got the headphones on and I've been singing away. It melts the stress away from the day and it makes me feel better. Enough Said!

I feel like sharing... I was in an oldies mood. They're fun and get you movin'!

Ain't Too Proud to Beg The Temptations! 

My Mistake (Was to Love You) Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye

Day 110 Soldering It Together

I went out to get a few items from the craft store and ended up in the jewelry making aisle. Let me say upfront, I have absolutely no talent in the craft arena. I have attempted all sorts of hobbies and tend to fail miserably at them.

But... I saw a puzzle piece pendant, the symbol of autism awareness due to the puzzling condition. I have been wanting one of those that I could wear, but I hadn't really seen any that harkened to me. This particular pendant was a bit large and was supposed to be decorated with tiny crystals to color it to your particular awareness preference. I wasn't particularly keen on sparkly crystals, so I almost put the pendant back. 

Then... Some pretty cool charms caught my eye and I saw that they already had bracelets that I didn't have to "make" or buy special closures and what not. It looked pretty simple. I picked out an uber industrial looking bracelet and some nostalgic charms to go with it. I knew my son would love the charms.

After simply adding the charms, I decided to change the tiny toggle that the bracelet was already equipped with. This is where the proverbial shit hit the fan and the craft reminded me that in his ring, I get knocked down. A little tiny ball fell off a tiny pin that held the bracelet together. It all hinged on the pin. 

My husband got out the soldering iron (We have one of those things? Cool... Can I make little tiny sculptures out of paper clips or something? Wait, one craft bout at a time.) and that little wheel of solder (is that what that wire looking thing is called?). We managed to just make a new ball on the end of that tiny little pin. There were quite a few tries and that craft sure tried puzzling us with all its bobbing and weaving, but we soldered and succeeded. Craft defeated!

Now, I have this really cool bracelet to show for it and a way to show my support for a puzzling condition that will not defeat us either. I can't wait to add more charms when I find ones that my daughter will like as well. I need a few that will down play the size of the puzzle piece a little, but I don't mind that charm being a little big anyway. It makes me smile...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 109 Aspy Meets Aspy

I had been awaiting this day for a few weeks. The local library hosted a presentation and book signing by Jesse A. Saperstein, author of Atypical: Life with Asperger's in 20 1/3 Chapters and there was no way I was going to miss that. Better yet, I was going to take my son. As far as we know, he hasn't met another Aspergian and I felt like this would be a great opportunity for him to see a fellow Aspy who was not only showing success, but confidence as well, after a life of dealing with antagonists, misconceptions and a turbulent transition into adulthood.

My son has expressed how he can feel alone at times. Through photography and his explanation of his art, he has conveyed a feeling being different and solitary, and believe me, as his mom, that's never easy for me to hear. That said, I want him to feel comfortable with his feelings, accepting of his differences and know that there are others who feel very much the same way. Hell, it seems to me that we all would want feel that way, right? This was the day where he could see that there are others like him, even in his own community.

We got there early, and as more and more people took their seats, I found myself watching the mannerisms of those that settled in to see if I could spy other Aspergians and maybe another parent with whom I could make a connection. But then Jesse entered. 

After watching the YouTube video of one of his presentations (the one above) and reading his book, I knew what to expect to an extent. While, I was not surprised by his candor or frankness, I wasn't expecting his compassionate ability to think on his feet for the sake of another in an uncomfortable position. At one point in today's talk, he held up a mirror and asked us all to take time to look into our mirrors at home and say a positive thing about ourselves. He offered up the opportunity for someone in the audience to share something special about themselves while looking into his mirror. Two boys had gotten up and made comments that left them radiating with pride. But one boy just couldn't think of anything at first. Then, he returned to say that he was horrible at math and he wasn't able to get past that. With quick wit, Jesse turned the statement around to make the comment become a more positive statement regarding honesty and that boy returned to his seat with a smile.

My son struggled to control himself during the presentation. He chose not to take his ADHD medication, and without it, he has less self-restraint. During times that he feels a bit uncomfortable, overwhelmed or even bored, like today where he probably felt a little of all of that at various times, he can find it difficult to be still. He may rock a bit, kick his legs, slightly roll his head, fidget with his fingers, make awkward facial expressions and even talk childishly. I believe it's his form of stimming, but since his symptoms of Asperger's is milder than many on the spectrum, his stimming is usually a little milder as well. When he's on medication, those actions are non-existent so many don't realize he even has those behaviors. Despite seeing many of the kids in the audience with the same difficulties, it's still difficult for me to watch. I just know what kind of misjudgement that type of behavior can bring upon him, and I'd love to protect him from all forms of erroneous impressions no matter how unrealistic that may be. Seeing Jesse describing how he manages these behaviors, I have hope that my son will find his way as well.

As we stood in line for the book signing, my son showed more of his stimming. When we got to Jesse, he childishly said "Hello"with eyes wide and a mouth even broader.  He continued his silly voice to answer when Jesse asked him what he was going to be for Halloween. I tried to break the ice for my son a bit, by getting him to share what he liked best about Jesse's presentation. With normal voice returned, he shared his excitement over an anecdote involving a Studebaker (the antique car aficionado that he is grasped onto that one small mention of a car). He then preceded to contradict the man about the size of a Studebaker. Oh boy... Well, it's not an ideal discussion, but I do like seeing him show confidence. Confidence dispels stimming. 

We both left smiling about what we heard and learned about compromise, understanding, and acceptance. I certainly felt motivated to continue to advocate, and surprisingly more motivated to continue with my writing. My son hasn't completely shared his thoughts on today with me yet, but based on his smiles, I think he did get more from it than a Studebaker comment. But then again, I guess that could've just been the candy he got from waiting in line. Nah, I don't think so. 

I know I got a lot more of out of it. Even his inscription gave me a thrill and a little more clout with my boy. The last line of the note stated to my son that his mom is awesome. Now, I know he doesn't know me from Adam and he was being gracious, but I sure don't think my son needs to know that! It brought a smile to my face and made me walk just a little bit taller. Awesome is something to live up to at least and I'll do whatever I can to be just that. So thank you, Jesse A. Saperstein, for the lessons of a lifetime and for the simple yet meaningful accolade. I look forward to seeing your future endeavors and will be cheering you on along the way!

Please check out Jesse's website,, to view his blog, The Atypical Blog, and to learn more about Jesse, his amazing feats (like hiking the 2,174 mile Appalachian Trail) and Asperger's Syndrome. I highly recommend his book, Atypical: Life with Asperger's in 20 1/3 Chapters, as well. I found it funny, enlightening and well worth my time. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 108 (Sort of)--Braving a New Smile

I've been on hiatus due to going out of town and having a crummy time. I should've taken the time to find a  smile no matter what was happening that was making me stray from my personal second star to the right, but I'm breaking away from the deviated path and finding my way back to Never Never Land once again.

My motivation to get going again? My children showed great courage today. Others may not have even noticed it or seen the importance of it, but my heart felt it and my smile returned.

My son stepped off the bus by himself today because his sister had joined an after school activity, and as he slipped out of his shoes and headed toward the pantry, he began to tell me a little about his day. Usually, I hear about the latest and greatest toy that all the kids are into right now and how someone has a rare one of whatever that toy is. Yep, I heard about all that today too, but he told me about something else that happened.

He told his friend, a friend he considers to be his best friend, that he has ADHD and Aspergers. He has never shared that with any of his peers before. He explained to me that his friend asked him what Aspergers was and my son said he wasn't sure. It's a syndrome he tries to clarify. Apparently, this spawned a conversation where my son said that this syndrome can cause him to get mad. This friend of his, whom I really enjoy and I am thrilled my son has in his life, must have thought this sounded pretty cool... kinda like the Hulk maybe. He asked if my son could get mad now! Love it.

His friend didn't treat him differently or ridicule him. He probably (actually, I'm pretty positive) already realized that my son could get mad easily anyway, but he didn't make my son feel ashamed. My son shared this sensitive information for the first time and it was a very big and brave step for him. I'm so very happy over it.

My daughter's display of bravery was a little different, but smile inducing all the same. Tonight, during a personal safety/anti-bullying demonstration held during a cub scout meeting, she joined in the activities as the only girl. Standing up next to boys wearing uniforms, and wearing her purple dress, flower headband and sparkly light up shoes, she tried her best to keep up and stand up tall next to the boys. This was after she was too afraid to walk across the gym to join them until they became close enough that she could slip into the line undetected. While the kids sat and listened to the instructor, she paid attention. When the instructor asked questions, she sat still... except once. She bravely raised her hand and spilled forth the answer in her tiny voice. For my very shy and anxious little girl, that was a big deal. I was so thrilled that she raised her hand! After hearing all the boys loudly vocalizing their "Yes SIR" and "Thank you SIR" replies, I expected to hear her get lost in the mix, but she spoke up without a problem. In my eyes, she shown brighter than the purple dress and twinkling shoes.

I welcome my smiles with open arms and put aside the infractions that pushed it from me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 107 Hey Mom

Hey Mom. Two words that never fail to make me look and, in general, make me smile. My daughter rarely says these words together. If she needs me, she just says Mom. If she is greeting me, it's a much more showy display. Something along the lines of "Mooommm!" in a growly, ecstatic way and she runs to me, grinning ear to ear, to tackle me around the waist. I would tell how much that just wraps me up with love and joy, but I'll spare you.

My son is the one that uses the "Hey Mom" phrase. He typically has two inflections. There's the "Hey, Mom?" which has a slight rise in his voice that lets me know to prepare for a question that could involve me either doing something completely simple or turning down a completely irrational request. "Um, sorry bud. We can't build a cannon today..." or "Well, I'm pretty sure you need a special permit to build a full size rocket in the backyard."

But the other way he he says "Hey Mom" is when he's greeting me. His greeting is the antithesis of my daughter's. It's completely nonchalant and monotone, but occasionally I will get an "Oh, Hey Mom" which makes me feel like he wasn't expecting me or something. I love the way he greets me, though. He gets off the bus, sees me and "Hey Mom." He then walks right past me into the house.

Today, when I heard his greeting, I really did smile. When ever I get a call in the middle of a weekday, I cringe! Really, I do. Today was no exception. I answered the phone and it was, *Sigh, the school nurse. My boy wasn't feeling so well.

As I got to the school and started to walk towards the building, I hear "Hey Mom." The window to the nurse's office was open and was calling out to me from inside. I smiled before I even saw him, and then I looked up and he was smiling at me. This is where I would say that I felt like my heart could've just burst from loving that kid so much, but I'll save you from that type of saccharine mush.

Speaking of mushy yuckiness, my son got sick in the car and my daughter wasn't too thrilled about that. I hear "Uh, Mom, it doesn't smell so good" from my daughter. Just picture this... She's pinching her nose with her right hand, her left shoulder is up against her left ear (covered by huge headphones already) and she's reaching across the top of her head to put her left hand over her right ear (also covered by huge headphones already) and all the while, she's desperately trying to continue playing her video game (which is why she's wearing headphones). I guess she didn't want to hear or smell any thing that involved my son being sick. She's taught me many things, and one of which is how to cover both ears and plug your nose at the same time. She was much happier when I pulled over quick at a gas station to throw out the throw up. Actually, I think we all were...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 106 Justly Kind

I'm a bit behind on getting my thoughts down today. If I have a prayer's chance of getting up in the morning, I had better keep this one short.

I will take the time to say that I'm still loving my son's teacher! We had our second monthly meeting (that's right, she offered to meet with me monthly just to see how things are going) and I explained that there are significant improvements in my son's stress levels (yay!!), but he was still having social issues on the bus. I went into the story about what happened recently when my son decided to demand that he be given his seat back (he used please). Her reply was awesome! She instantly understood that my son wasn't the instigator and the worst he did was stand up for himself. Why should he be a doormat anyway? Hoorah! Now, she wasn't saying he should start fighting anyone, but if he's being targeted, why can't he verbally speak out? Some may not agree, but I liked her attitude. I felt better that she saw his side of the story, and knew he was a good kid who would stand up against what he thought was wrong. Why should we suppress that?

I get a smile out of how he will hold the door open for others, say thank you when I get him a drink of water, but I love hearing about when he saw that a boy left his lunch box behind and he personally ensured that it was returned to the classmate. I love seeing him wave and smile at a boy that has special needs and isn't always socially accepted by peers (and right after he waved to that boy, an older girl made an ugly face at my son... yea, my kid's the problem here). When he complained about a classmate that shut the door on another classmate with crutches instead of holding the door open, I can't help but think he will be the kid who will not tolerate injustice.

He's a good boy...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 105 Walking Tall

I felt like being a little taller today. Maybe the whole stay at home mom thing has been getting to me, but I have had a desire to kick it up a notch when I do the whole away from home mom thing, so I went for the heels today. I didn't have a whole heck of a lot to do really, but I wasn't about to stay home in my pajamas all day.

The shoes hurt the ball of my feet. And the feeling in my pinkie toe on my left foot will hopefully return by tomorrow, but who cares! I walked like I was born with those shoes on! I stood up straight, and tried to look important. The point is I felt good! 

After the kids got off the bus and homework was done, we headed out to the library. Yes, I wore the heels again. By then, the numbness had started in so I had nothing to lose. 

I love our local library! It's huge for one thing, for a small town at least. The staff is great there, they have amazing programs and it's all around fantastic. My daughter made a beeline to the Junie B. Jones books and I'm proud of the fact that she knew where they were! Then, my son had it in his head to get a skateboarding book for the non-fiction section, so upstairs we trotted! He knew exactly where those books would be located. On the descent from the second floor, a librarian commented on my daughter's great shoes and my daughter beamed brighter than her light up shoes!

During my own book search (I wasn't nearly as prepared as my kids), I looked back to ensure my crew was in tow. Yep, but how they managed to stick with me is a mystery as both of them had their noses in their books and their eyes glued to the pages. They both managed to tear themselves away and I lead them to the audiobooks section. 

After listening to Artemis Fowl during our last four hour car ride, my kids have decided that listening to a book is way better than actually reading one! There are cool accents! My son had a couple of books he wanted to read, but had been intimidated by their huge size (and to be perfectly honest, they would take him FOREVER and he's required to read 25 books this year so we can't take that long). He hopped on the computer and requested the titles. He felt quite accomplished!

Then, there she was! The substitute teacher that taught my son during the best three months of third grade, when his teacher was on maternity leave. She was happy to see him, she asked how he liked school, she encouraged him. She also asked me who his teacher was and new that it really mattered! I loved her! She should be cloned! She's now in a different district due to cuts, but of course my son still gets to see his less than favorite teacher from last year on a regular basis. Grrr... But that's okay, because he's doing great anyway and walked away from the chance meeting with a big smile! 

During check out, a librarian greeted my son who was front and center. She said "Hey, weren't you in the first grade book club?! I remember you!" He lit up! She remembered him! He loved that group, but it had been a long time since those meetings! He was rolling in pride! 

This morning I wore heels to be taller. By the end of the library trip, I walked taller simply because my kids were radiantly happy! I didn't need the heels after all and I'm sure my feet would have preferred that I would have figured that out much sooner than I actually did. Heh, they'll heal! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 104 Supported Smiles

This time last year, I was worried beyond stress about what was going on with my son. The hours of homework that he couldn't complete, the frozen way in which he attempted to write and yet, couldn't manage to get anything on paper, the daily struggles socially and the constant learning I had to accomplish to make his life better took it's toll on me.

I read book after book, went from one type of physician to the next, stayed in constant communication with the school, cried through psychologist appointments, hovered over homework and projects, and provided reminders to chew food and brush teeth and, believe me, there was no turning it all off at night. It was always on my mind. What should I be doing now to help my son? It caused me to be tired, stressed out, and tense to the point that my back muscles jumped when rubbed.

All of that worry and studying has done us tremendously well! My son now has a diagnosis, he has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) along with an educational support team unlike any we've ever had. I'm still learning and I'm still advocating for my son, but I'm not so worried anymore.

I am finding support as well. With the Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTO), I have been able to meet other parents with the same concerns as I. Every child is unique, but every parent shares the same concerns. To hear what other parents are going through and to also hear what makes their child so damn awesome! I felt like I was part of a unit. I shared my experiences, concerns and plans and I listened while other moms and dads did the same.

I feel like I can relax a little now! Oh, I'm ever vigilant when it comes to finding solutions to help us during trying times and my whole body shutters when I read "Main Office" on the caller ID, but I go to bed thinking of my music or fall asleep while giving myself a reiki treatment. I haven't had to go to sleep wondering what would happen next with every pounding beat of my heart.  It feels amazing to have a teacher who listens to me, modifies homework, sends home study guides and actually posts the home work on the the school website!

I'm thrilled to have support and to be feeling better about where we all our right now. My son is getting to enjoy being a student, instead of crying about the hardship. The support of SEPTO makes me smile! The support of my husband during every chapter I read up upon and for dealing with the inevitable meltdown just around the corner also makes me smile. Seeing my son happy to return to school after scraping through his third grade class brings about endless smiles. This place where we all are in our lives now feels so much more freeing and uplifting and I know we're on the right path. We hit bumps in the road, but we'll make it. We have support and we have each other. With all of that, we can do anything and there's nothing that could enhance a smile more!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 103 Project TV Buddy

So I'm home after a really long day of packing, traveling, and helping my son study for a test. The latter being the hardest part since he just couldn't retain anything he learned from this weekend or today. We studied before we left for home, we studied off and on during the trip, and we continued studying after arriving home and taking a play break. At one point, I laid my head on the cold enamel top table and repeated "Concord, New Hampshire-- Concord, New Hampshire-- Concord, Concord" and, maybe I blacked out here, but I think I even said "I don't care if you pronounce it Concurd or Con Cord, just write Concord down and remember it, please..."

So after laying down and trying to find my chi for a few minutes, the kids showered and got ready for bed, bedtime reading was done and I wend from finding my chi to finding my remote. I had to catch up with my DVR, I HAD TO!!!

I think it says a lot about my husband, the football fan and watcher of shows like Dexter and Sons of Anarchy, that he will sit right next to me while I watch an hour and half long episode of Project Runway. That man must love me. That really hit me more tonight and sent me into a good laugh when during the newest episode, I made a comment about a character on the show and I couldn't think of his name. My husband chimed up with "Who, Burt?" Yep, thank you. Not only for reminding me of the designer's name that I couldn't retain much like my son couldn't retain Providence, Rhode Island, but for joining me to watch a show that I know he couldn't care less about and actually paying attention to it for me. I appreciate that and I smile because of it.

Does that mean I have to watch Dexter now? Just the opening title sequence turns my stomach... oh boy...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 102 Family Times

The dining room table was filled tonight with family. My children,  my parents, my sister and her fiance and my dear friend, Giovanni. It was a good meal with good company. I don't think I could ask for more. Well, my husband wasn't here since he had to work during the days the kids had off from school, but he was off fishing (and he caught fish!) so he did get enjoy himself too.

After dinner and sitting around a bit, we got out the old game, Scattergories, and enjoyed a few rounds with laughs. It reminded me of when I was a kid and the grown ups with gather 'round Grandma's kitchen table after a big meal and play a game. I remember watching them have such a good time when I was too young to play along, much like my kids did tonight. I remember when I was allowed to join them when I got to be of the age to keep up. We gave my son a chance to play tonight, but it proved to be a little too soon for him tonight.  He laughed regardless.

Nights like this bring a smile to face not only because of the fun I had this evening, but from the memories that are conjured up again from times too far distant. Family is happiness for me and with which I will never be apart from a reason to smile.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 101 Line Drive to Smiles

Yay!! I got to see my friends! That makes me a happy a girl! It was awesome! My best friends since high school, five children from just a few tiny months old to my nine year old boy of awesomeness, food, and tee ball line drives straight to the back of unsuspecting children.

Soo... aside from my son deciding to play one man tee ball without noticing who was in the direct line of the hit which subsequently led to my daughter balling her eyes out (by the way, it was a whipple ball... how bad could it hurt?), it was a great night. Tee ball tear clean up wasn't nearly as annoying as I would've thought. I did have a jolly one year old on my hip while I corrected the nine year old and soothed the six year old while the almost three year old (with the most adorable bob) continued on without hesitation! I was in heaven! I was also on the look out for retaliation from my daughter who seems to want to adopt an eye for an eye attitude lately. She settle for an over exaggerated cry instead. Thank goodness!

No, I wasn't taking care of these four kids alone. There were four adults there, but it was really awesome having so many little ones around. And to top off the evening, my friends babysat their niece who is so new to this world that you just want to hold her all day long and make stupid silly faces while cooing at her. So I did hold her (and make funny faces and noises) for as long as I possibly could before I had to head home. That sweet little bundle was just adorable! A perfect little baby! Oh and she even had that wonderful little baby smell! So darn cute!

There couldn't possibly be any doubt out there about the number of smiles I had tonight! The smiles on the faces of my friends, on the children, and on me who enjoyed every flippin' minute of it!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 100 Charlie and Judy

For my 100th post, I would like to share a song that think is appropriate. Unlike the songs Fireworks and Born this Way, I will not cry when I hear this little diddy. I do think of Charlie Chaplin though, and the chin up, move on and smile on the way final image of the movie Modern Times.

My favorite rendition of the song is Judy Garland's. When I hear it, I hear the voice of a mother letting her little darling know that they'll get by, if they just smile. I felt a little guilty about declaring that I preferred Ray Charles' version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow recently on my facebook page, so now I feel a bit redeemed. 

I admit, at times the song can seem a little somber, but the heartfelt voice of Judy strings the lyrics along and you get the feeling that she is taking on her child's heartbreak, that she would take all the heartbreak away if she could. While she is bearing the pain, she begins to uplift the spirit and empower the child. The song is a ballad of beauty with Judy's grace, elegance and meaningfulness. It's a song you don't want to have to sing to your kids, but would if it made everything better. 

And for another smile.... Me, as Charlie Chaplin almost nine years ago at our Halloween party.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 99 Sibling Respect, Huh?

Siblings.... Sigh... There are days when I feel like my kids are always going to be bickering with each other and will forever be at each other's throat. There are times that it just drives me CRAZY!  They just don't seem to have respect for one other. I didn't grow up fighting with a sibling as there is a nine year difference between my sister and I so maybe I'm being delusional about expecting them to get along, but I want them to really try and be nice to each other. Is that crazy? They're supposed to love each other!

Well, after spending all day defending my son with the school, all I could think of is "Am I being irrational here?" From what I understood from hearing different point of views, was that my son became upset over a situation that was instigated by another child. My son was portrayed as a bully when he was actually reacting to another child's behavior. I wanted the school to be clear that he did not instigate this, he was reacting, he did not threaten or touch this other child, and that he just became upset. A very normal occurrence for him and something that we are all trying to help him with. My son is the apple cart that many kids on the bus seem to want to upset. This has been corroborated by the bus driver and other students as well. It really stinks for my son that he gets targeted, and then he gets in trouble for becoming upset. 

Some days, it feels like I am the only one going to bat for my son. I know deep down that that isn't really the case. My husband is right there with me and my son does have a pretty good support system in school. But there are still days I feel the burden. However, I must say that I was a bit surprised when I learned of a new defender. 

After picking up the kids from school, and heading out on a long car ride for a long weekend, my kids began telling me about their day. I heard a particularly interesting account of this morning's bus ride from my daughter. 

My daughter explained how one of her friends (to be perfectly honest, I don't particularly care for this "friend" as I don't think she shows qualities of a friend) said to her "Your brother is mean. My brother says he is mean." Now, when I hear this, I think to myself Oh, this is coming from the sister of the boy who has caused bruises on my son, rushed at him with his fist ready, and taunts him with two other boys on the bus... sure, that makes sense. 

My daughter's reply was "No, he's not." The girl repeated her previous comment and stated that she didn't think she wanted to be friends anymore. My daughter said "Well, I don't think I want to be your friend anymore." And then she preceded to sing about it. Not sure what that's all about, but she's an interesting girl.

I expressed my appreciation for her standing up for her brother. Honestly, I was ecstatic! She loves him!! Yay!! I knew it was in there somewhere! My son let his sister know that he gets picked on by the other girl's brother. I loved her response: "WHAT?! She lied to me! They lied. Well, I told my teacher she was hurting my feelings and that's against the classroom rules!" Hah!! 

Trying to be a good mom, I expressed again that I was so glad that she stuck up for her brother, but to not make a big deal about it any further. No need to continue on with the argument and cause more problems. Internally, I was doing a jig! I'm sorry, but I loved that she was standing up for her brother and she was willing to stake a friendship on it. And here I thought I they didn't respect each other. Well, maybe they don't, but at least she won't let someone else disrepect him!

When my son spends a good portion of his day dealing with social issues and getting taunted on the bus, I am so happy to know that he has at least one person there with him that he can count on to support him. It feels good to know that he was being defended by not only me, but his sister too. What a great thing to learn and a great smile to wear! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 98 Skate Away

My son has had a rough afternoon. There's been some tricky business on the bus again and he's not completely innocent, of course, but he's being accused of some things that sound a bit exaggerated. I called around to some moms and had their kids tell us what happened and I've gotten a different account from what the school seems to believe. I'll be addressing that with them tomorrow.

But after being interrogated by a teacher he didn't know and the school psychologist only to be made out to be a liar (despite the fact that I've NEVER known him to lie) and then having a doctor's appointment which was followed up with homework, he needed some time to himself. So what does he do?...

He grabbed a skateboard. A board that he begged us to get him for Christmas a few years ago, but he's maybe ridden once. He donned a helmet. He headed for the driveway. I prepared to be heading to the hospital shortly. He's not the most coordinated kid you know.

I had nothing to worry about though. He peddled along. Wait, that can't be the right term. What do you call that when they kick off with their feet? Anyway, he pushed off with his feet right down the driveway and cruised (I know, that doesn't sound right either) up and down the blacktop. He was actually balancing himself. Who knew?!

Then he began attempting tricks. Say what?! Where are the car keys?! Is my phone on me so I can call 911?! But there he was, hopping with his skateboard (nope, not a technical term, I'm pretty sure about that) and trying something he called a Front Ollie (he said it, not me). He looked focus, and content.

I knew he was in trouble for what happened at school, despite it not being as big of a deal as it was being made out to be. But I couldn't take that skateboarding time from him. Well, I wouldn't have thought to ground him from ahead of time since he's never shown any real interest in it before. That might have been him being clever, but I'll give him that win. He needs it sometimes.

Watching him skate away his problems made me happy for him and it put a bit of me at peace as well. I was really concerned over the events that I was being told about and awaiting to hear from other moms for more details.

While he was skating away, part of me wanted to skate my worries away too. Instead, I gave him a thumbs up when he was successful, an "Oh well" shrug when he almost fell, and both of those were accompanied by a smile. I've found that a smile can be just as helpful as skating away, but without a helmet! Helmets are not good for my hair...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 97 Lunch Social Issues

I got the call today. The one I've known I would get eventually, thrilled that I hadn't gotten already, yet just as nervous about receiving.

My son's school psychologist called to let me know that, while my son is having a great year, he is struggling during lunch. I've only been saying that for three years! 

Lunch combines into recess and is pretty unstructured. Imagine about 100 kids all trying to talk louder than the next, rushing to meet their friends at the games and toys. Just try to hear the noise that reverberates off the linoleum and concrete. Picture the cliques of kids huddled around different games, some games you may not know how to play. Now, what many of these kids ignore you sometimes? What if some of these kids have called you names before? Maybe some of them are your friends, but you remember that you just snapped at them in class for being too noisy. What would you do with all of that? I would probably just find a quiet place to be by myself. Not my son though. He's still trying to join the groups and some days he's successful, and yet many days he's not. Today was a "not" day and unfortunately, filled with some tears.

As I talked with the psychologist, she made it clear that she believes that it's too noisy and she wanted to brain storm with me to find the best resolution for my son that didn't require isolating him. A quiet room to eat with a few invited guests would probably be great for some kids, but for my son, he would feel too cut off.

She told me about a book that she had entitled "Can I tell you about Asperger Syndrome? A guide for friends and family" by Jude Welton and offered to allow me to borrow it. The book is from the point of view of boy named Adam who explains Asperger's Syndrome (AS) from his point of view. As we read it all together tonight as a family, I was happy to see both my kids identifying with the boy in the book. No need for my son to feel alone in this after all.

I believe the psychologist would like us to begin carefully sharing his diagnosis with his friends. This book would be a great way to show AS to other classmates. I didn't commit to allowing that disclosure. I'm not sure if we're ready to share that information with other kids. I admit, it could lead to support, but let's face it, kids can be cruel too. I couldn't possibly make that decision for my son. We would all have to talk about that together and consider my son's input overall.

I believe he connected to aspects of the book and as he went to be with the book on his mind, he wore a smile. Many nights he has a hard time turning off his mind and feeling settled. Tonight, he went right to bed, was upbeat and loving, and he really smiled the whole time he was getting in bed and covering up. Seeing him consider himself as not alone in this and as the AS expert in our home (being an expert must feel pretty good... I'm no expert on anything really), is inspiring and certainly smile worthy. Anytime he smiles, I want to smile back ten fold! He'll be okay.... this team will get him there and lunch will be smooth sailing with smiles galore!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 96 Girls' Day

Hubby surprised my son with tickets to the Mets game today which means...


There have been many times that my son has been out for cub scout camping, fishing and what not, which leaves my daughter and I at home. In order to keep her from feeling left out, we began Girls' Day. 

While the boys were preparing for their day, my daughter caught on that we weren't going with them. She asked where they were going and I explained that they would be out all day. "So you know what that means, right?! Girls' Day!" I said. "YEEESS!!" was her ecstatic reply.

In the past, we've gone to the movie theater, had manicures, played games, or watched movies at home. Today was my favorite of all the Girls' Days!

We went to the library for a Girl Scouts event that was going on, but my daughter would barely say a word to any of the young scouts. She's so darn shy, but she did warm up a bit. For a dollar, she decorated a tile, planted basil and grass to take home and made a garden sign for the basil. 

And of course, we had to look for a book while we were there. She's into the Junie B. Jones books right now and after picking out a mushy gushy one, we headed to the checkout counter. The librarian saw everything she was carrying and asked her what she had planted. I was expecting to have to speak up for her, but she quietly answered! "This is basil and this is grass. I made a tile and a sign, too!" Ahh, smile!

Next on the list was manicures! Now, the shyness was put to a test here. She couldn't understand anything the women were saying with their heavy accents. At one point, a manicurist asked me "You're having two, right?" Unfortunately, she said it extremely fast and it came out more like "Youhavintwori?" My daughter looked up at me with her face scrunched up and said "What did she say?" 

We picked out some interesting shades and had a seat. They treated my daughter to nail art as well and she loved that they used sparkly colors to decorate. It was funny to watch her watch the manicurist. I read all over her face that she was scared to death that the manicurist would ask her a question! She seemed to get more spirit in her when she saw her pretty nails!

"So, what's next?" I asked. "Food, I'm so hungry! Cheesecake Factory!" While we were there waiting for a table and then waiting for our dinner, we read almost all of her Junie B. Jones book. She got her cheesecake topped with strawberries, her favorite. It was a good meal.

After picking out a Scooby Doo movie from the Blockbusters, we headed home, got in our pajamas, made some popcorn, got out a game and watched the movie together. It was a great ending to the day. A day filled with lots of smiles from the both of us. I'm so glad we had this day!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 95 Wear a Smile with that Hat

Tonight, I went to a Hat Party. Ever heard of one of those? I hadn't. 

This party was for a friend of mine going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. The idea is to wear a hat to the party and bring a hat or scarf gift for the friend to wear during the time that they've lost their hair. These hats can be practical or humorous. I noted that humor goes a very long way. Below is clip explaining it a bit with footage from a party.

While this seemed like a very sweet and endearing thing to do for a friend, I was a bit nervous about attending. First of all, while I know this woman, I don't know her as closely as the others there. It certainly doesn't mean that I care less, far from it! This just seems like such an intimate occasion, I wasn't sure if I belonged there. I care about her and her family, I would be more than happy to help out in any way, but above all, I don't want to make her uncomfortable. She deserves all the comfort possible. 

The other thing is, I'm not sure how I would have felt about this party if I had been in my friend's shoes. I would have loved having my family and friends there to support me and certainly would have appreciated all the effort, but would I want all eyes on me during a time when I don't look or feel like myself? I hope that I would be thrilled about it, but I also hope I never have to find out.

The party was a beautiful idea though. There was so much support, love, laughter and, for me, realization. I posted yesterday about a mall kiosk salesman degrading my hair with his condescension. I simply glared at him and went on, but now part of me would like to say "You know what, it's just hair! Get over it!" But, the other part of me thinks I would've been better off just ignoring him completely. After all, you learn what's important in life and that type of stuff shouldn't be high on my list. 

Now, I can't speak for our friend in regards to all that she's been going through, and to be honest, I wouldn't even have a clue about an ounce of her struggles, but I will attest to her grace under pressure, to her humor, and to how her bright eyes and smile light up the place. I've noticed that she's always smiling when I see her. Even in general conversation, she naturally carries a smile. That was her way before the cancer and it's still her way while beating cancer. I wonder if she realizes how much she smiles. What a wonderful habit, smiling... 

I thank the ladies who put together this event and I send much love and many well wishes to my friend who looked fan-freakin-tastic in all the varied hats. And to her I say "Smile girl, you're kicking cancer's ass!"

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 94 A Little Frizzy

I had to go shopping today. Normally, I don't mind shopping, but today, I had an unpleasant experience. First, a small amount of back story.

I did some cleaning today and pet care which requires that I shower afterwards. I knew I was going out to the mall and since I don't get out as much lately, I decided to put on the pretty face and try to do something with this mane of mine. I have long, wavy, textured hair. Some days it's pretty and defined, some days, not so much. Today was a decent hair day, somewhere in between the pretty/defined and the not so much days. I thought it was alright though.

Until I was walking through the mall. I grabbed a cup of coffee to appease me while I meandered through stores and I even bought a small vanilla scone to enjoy as well. As I made my way past the wood furniture store on my way to JCrew, I had to walk past one of those kiosks. This particular one sold hair flat iron straighteners.

The guy made eye contact with me as I nibbled on my scone. Then, he began shaking his head at me in a disapproving your hair is an atrocity sort of way. I was a little surprised by this and didn't completely comprehend the situation. I smiled graciously, but continued on with my coffee and scone.

"You should have a seat here."

Oh, no he didn't! He did not just disapprove of my hair and then tell me that I should let him fix it! First off, he didn't even have any hair of his own. That may not matter, but it bugged me regardless. Secondly, who, in their right mind, would sit down to let someone do their hair that just blatantly insulted them?! Thirdly, ah hell, who needs a third point with those first two? He was rude and that's that.

I gave him the look of death and moved on. Needless to say, I didn't go by there again that day and when I did make it home, I put my hair in pigtails before going on to the cub scout meeting tonight. I understand that it was raining all day and that humidity wreaks havoc on my locks, but to be dissed like that in public was a bit offsides. Jerk!

Braided pigtails do make me smile though and remind me of the part of our honeymoon when we visited  Joshua Tree National Park. I recall wearing pigtails that day and having wonderful time.  I guess the rude, hairless, flat iron pusher was just doing his job and I wouldn't have been thinking of such a wonderful time if it hadn't been for him.... but I can still give him the death stare whenever I feel like it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 93 A Kiss and a Smile

It was a pretty dull day. Part of me is thrilled to have a quiet day, and yet the other part of me would have preferred not staying home to clean and watch day stealing television. As I picked up the laptop tonight, I began to wonder what in the world would I write about? I can't just talk about my nonchalant day. I'm supposed to be sharing how I sought after, created and realized my Never Neverland smile on a daily basis, in hopes, that one day, I am able to do all that without trying so hard. But days like today, make that seem like a difficult task.

That was until I shared with my husband that I really had no idea what I was share. And here's where it gets totally mushy, I mean sweet. He comes over, kneels down beside me and gives me a kiss. Yep, that got a smile.

It also got me thinking about the other kisses I received today. His good morning kiss, his kiss before leaving, my daughter's after school greeting kiss, the kids' goodnight kisses. And there was also the one from my son. I kept kissing him on the cheek, being obnoxious, while he was watching television. I knew he would eventually tell me to stop with a sly little grin, but I wasn't expecting him to then laugh and give me a kiss on the cheek.

Kisses make smiles and I wouldn't have given them much thought if it weren't for the one given to me at a time when I felt like I had lost them for the day. I may not have grabbed my smiles by the laugh lines today, but I'm alright with that. I'm grateful to have been given a kiss and a smile when I needed it without asking for it. Even that alone is something about which to smile.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 92 His View

I've been encouraging my son to pick up our camera and start taking photos. Well, he's been taking photos for a while now, but I wanted him to start thinking about the hobby differently.

Ever since he was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome earlier this year, I've been looking up every video, story and first hand accounts I could find. When I found one that I thought my son could relate to, I would share it with him. He would give me his opinion. "Yea, that's like me!" "I do that too!"

I've expressed to him that I was thankful that these people recorded their thoughts in their own way so I along with others could have a better understanding of what their lives are like. This led to discussions on using the camera to express what's on his mind. Hey, it's easier than writing which he struggles with greatly.

When I asked him today what he would take a picture of to show how he feels about himself and about Aspergers and ADHD, to be honest, I wasn't exactly expecting any deep thoughts (I was just trying to help him feel important and confident about who he is... his thoughts matter).  I was surprised and somewhat wrenched by his reply, though. He said he would take a picture of a forest, which I asked him to explain. He said that forests seem lonely. That sometimes he feels alone and sometimes wants to be alone. He didn't seem bothered by this and so I didn't express concern. I suggested he go in the backyard and photograph that.

I helped him get set up and let him do the rest. I was intrigued by what he captured and how he played with monotone and color photos. I hope to be able to share his photographs with you, but at this time I'm choosing to wait until he's ready to share them himself.

When he was done, we loaded the pictures up and he was proud of his work. He explained his opinions about them as well and I was happy to show him how proud I was of him. He did a great job and hopefully, he's gained a new way to step away from stimulating environments (a little less tv time doesn't hurt either), a new form of expression, and another sense of completion and success.

What I gained was more insight into his world. And as I watched him standing on the edge the woods, I couldn't help but view his peering into the dark overgrowth in front of him similarly to how I look into his world. There's a lot going on in there and I'm just touching the surface. It's beautiful and inspiring.

As I photographed him, photographing what he wanted, he began photographing me. We have pictures of each other taking pictures of each other. It was good fun and he certainly made me smile.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 91 Lighter Time

9:26 My son calls my cell from school.

10:22 Ding! Voicemail (no missed call, just a voicemail). "Mom, could you bring me my card?" Crap, what card is he talking about?! Was he upset or is that his cold? Oh no, did he have a meltdown? I'm so going to hear about this, I just know it...

10:23 School secretary answers my call and reminds me that today was the library field trip and that they have already left.

10:25 I'm in the car.

10:35 I'm in line at the library to make sure there's no late fee (which there was). I have to pay that so they don't deny him the book.

10:36 My son comes walking down the stairs and stands right behind me without realizing it. He catches my eye. Oh boy... here it comes. I prepared myself for "Mom! You forgot to give me my card!" with tears in tow. I smiled hoping to diffuse any possible inflammatory remark, but it was a leery smile, one prepared to divert attention, but soothe the volcano. I hear "Oh hi Mom. Can I have my library card please?"

10:37 "Yes." Yes to a few things. Yes to his question. "YES, no berating!" I escaped unscathed. It is amazing. Yes, he handled an unexpected situation without blaming me for it. Yes, he handled the situation without losing it. He kept himself together. He moved on with his tour, I handed the card to his teacher and slipped out without notice.

From 10:22 through 10:36, I was mentally freaking out. I looked calm and cool, but internally, I was awaiting what history has taught me. That's a lot of stress in a short amount of time. When you carry a weight on your shoulders, a weight made of stress, fatigue, apprehension, and questions, a sudden clearing of that weight makes you feel as though you could float away. It is a freeing sensation, but one I considered purely mental.

But I couldn't help but smile when my husband came home, gave me one of hugs where he lifts me off the ground and says to me "You feel lighter." Smile...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 90 Schweddy Smiles

Ice cream makes me smile. Malt balls make me smile. Rum makes me smile. Saturday Night Live makes me smile, especially when Alec Baldwin hosts. Put all that together and you get Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls, an ice cream that tastes great and makes you chortle. But first... have you seen the SNL skit? If not, do it now! If you have seen it, go ahead and watch it again. You know you want to.

Ok, so I just watched it again too. Hilarity!

I've been checking the stores for this ice cream since I hear about it's limited time release last week. I couldn't wait to taste those Schweddy Balls mixed in with rum flavored ice cream. I finally found it this afternoon. I was surprised that there were two different flavored balls in the ice cream. One malt ball variety and one chocolate rum flavored ball variety. I think one ball is slightly bigger than the other and a little misshapen. From what I can taste, those are the rum balls. I enjoyed my little dessert... it was good times!

Well, I've had good fun with that and I hope you can try some yourself. It's guaranteed to make you smile. By the way, I'm not being paid to endorse this good humored goodness, I just wanted to have a good laugh while I was journaling! Next time I'm at the store, I might have to try their Clusterfluff ice cream. Peanut butter and marshmallow... yummm.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 89 My Little Smiles

Despite leaving my parents' house to drive over four hours to mine, I've had a lot of little reasons to smile today. Little things that added up over the day...

My father didn't work all weekend. This man works every day and has even gone in on holidays. He spent all weekend with us.

My mother cooked us breakfast and even made root beer flavored pancakes because her grandson loves the beverage so much (he did proclaim that his nickname would be Root beer a couple of years ago). How sweet is that?

Music. Music played while I'm getting ready in the morning some how sets the tone for the rest of my day. Music helps me stay awake while driving home during long car rides.

My husband holding my hand while I drive.

Watching the Buffalo Bills football team win their game. My husband's a life long fan and I actually enjoyed watching the end of the game with him today.

Chocolate milkshake. Oh, and Mango Strawberry Fruitista. It was a higher calorie day, but I don't care people.

Meeting up with my sister and her fiance at the mall unexpectedly.

Laughing over spider stories.

My son solving a problem with his toy. You can see the gears turning in that brain of his.

My daughter's thoughts on the prices of her favorite toys. "The prices on Littlest Pet Shop have gotten so low! They're going down in price. I can buy two!"

Later, my daughter says "I miss my teacher because it's been so long since I've seen her. I can't wait to tell her about my new toy!"

My daughter won a prize from a benefit we went to this weekend. She was hoping it was the iPad2 basket, but was happy about the toy basket she received instead and gave all the tool toys her brother.

Looking in the rear view mirror and seeing my son wearing a yellow toy hard hat in the back seat as if that is totally normal.

Getting ready to watch a John Cusack movie in bed.

There were more things, but I've got a movie and a husband waiting on me. Good night y'all!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 88 Footed Pajama Smiles

It's my dad's birthday today and we were all able to spend it together today! All day! To celebrate, my daughter devised a plan. She wanted to have a special movie night and dictated the necessary items to her grandfather before shopping for the "necessary" provisions.

The list:

Ice Cream

So, after a dinner out, we headed out to the store. They picked out a movie, Hoodwinked Too Hood vs. Evil. That actually took a while. The perk of my children having a father who makes animated movies for a living is that they have seen or own just about all of them out there. Next, we were off to get new pj's. Apparently, she felt that we all needed new pj's, but I got her to be okay with just the kids. Until...

There they were... Hanging in the boys' section. Footed fleece pajamas. And they looked big! Perhaps it was being around my parents today that brought out the kid in me, but I found myself eyeing those cozy cuddling pj's with a huge grin on my face. While my son tried on skull and cross bones robes, I was finding the largest size available in those footies. I held them up against me to see if there was the slightest chance that they might be big enough. My husband seemed to think they would fit and that was all the encouragement I needed!

I was trying those babies on! I just slipped 'em right on over my clothes, right then and there! Yep, I had to have them. And let me tell you, they're sooo cooozzzyyy! I'll be warm all winter in this thing! Who needs a snuggie when you wear footed pajamas?! Loving them!

Well, after the all the list fulfilling and extraneous pajama purchasing, we headed home for some of my sister's delicious home made (dye free) cupcakes, my daddio enjoyed his flag mosaic we made for him and we had our movie night. My daughter had a great plan and we enjoyed it thoroughly. 

I've smiled a lot today and I'll continue to smile while I consider purchasing more of those pajamas in the other motifs. Gee, should I go with rocket ships or guitars? My son thought camo suited me. Oh, there were some in the girls' section too! I could get the lavender ones with poodles, pink with pandas, or light blue with skulls... Ahhh, warm and fuzzy decisions...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 87 Teaming Up

Over the last few years, I've grown accustomed to receiving calls or emails from my son's teachers. Little notes used to explain how he became frustrated over too much noise when he's trying to concentrate, he became upset over changes he wasn't expecting, or he had a hard time socially. These issues come with both ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome.

Normally, my son would be given a break and I would hear about the incident at the end of the day.

Last year, I got my first call from the teacher on the second day of school. He wouldn't hand in his practice test incomplete despite being told he wouldn't have time to finish. His thoughts were that assignments must be completed. They always were expected to be done before handing them in. He became quite upset and teary eyed. This year has been different, though! We've made it through a week and a half without "There's a Problem" warnings! Progress people! That's progress!

However, Thursday, my son told me about not being able to focus on his assignment because of noises in the background from classmates. He said his teachers tried giving him headphones, but they didn't work because they weren't plugged in to anything. He said that they even let him sit by himself but it wasn't quiet enough. Did I get a call or email? Nope.

This sounded, to me, as though the teacher and assistant were still working on a solution. Normally, I'm told about the problem so I can be the problem solver, as if I'm the expert here.

That night, was the back to school night at his school and I met up with the special education teacher who helps out with my son. I mentioned my son's noise issue from the day. She said she had heard about it that they were continuing to find ways to help him.

I explained to her that my son uses headphones to listen to music at home in order to drown out my daughter's incessant singing, mumbling, or high pitched pretend voice whole he's doing homework. I offered to allow Hinton bring an iPod in if they were on board with it. She seemed open to it, but of course, wanted to speak with the teacher first.

Today, I received emails from each of them telling me to send in headphones and iPod if I were still okay with that. They would be more than happy to give it a try.

Personally, that felt awesome! I didn't receive the "There's a Problem" correspondence, his support group tried supporting him instead of making him fit to their needs, and they listened to my a suggestion and actually are giving it a try! I could do cartwheels I'm so happy! That's the way a team should work!

Loving my son's new class this year!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 86 Friends Between Classes

It was off to the school again tonight for me, day two in a row. This time, it was the meet and greet for my son's grade and I was happy to go to it.  Not because I was going to be meeting his teacher (I've already done that) and not because I get to see all the plans for their future as fourth graders (I've got a pretty good idea what that entails). I was looking forward to seeing moms.

Yep, that sounds funny alright, but that's what made me happy tonight. I knew my mom friends from dance class, cub scouts, and the like would be there and I hadn't seen them since the beginning of summer. I enjoyed the catch up chat.

I sure needed to see the ladies again. Now, I just have to actually keep in touch with them (dance is off all of our schedules this year). The cub scouts group, I'll see at a few times a month so I that won't be so hard to keep up, but I really must put forth effort to invite the other moms out for lunch or something. This sounds so easy, but it doesn't come naturally to me.

I don't have any problem striking up a conversation with people, even complete strangers. For instance, last night, I started speaking with a parent I've never seen before. We just got chatting and I found out that her son had many of the same issues that my son had. She had real concerns about her son and he wasn't getting any help. I passed on all sorts of information to her and I had never even met her before. But boy oh boy, don't ask me to call someone or email them to see if they want to have a cup of coffee. I'm going to have to change that!!

Well, I had a fun time tonight chit chatting with friends between classrooms. The lively banter sure made listening to ongoing PTO speeches worth enduring for the second night in a row, and fleeing those with your sanity still intact can be a difficult task. Friends keep you sane and they keep you smiling.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 85 Don't Judge...

Lest ye be judged. I haven't read much of the Bible, but I'm pretty sure that quote's in there somewhere. I'm feeling like I did the judging recently and now, I'm feeling a bit like a hypocrite.

In past posts, I have touched on how my son has been bullied in the past by a small group of kids a year older than him. Nothing physical, but the public ridicule took its toll on him. I knew that some of my son's atypical behaviors fueled the verbal confrontations. He can be an easy target for those that are less sensitive. Despite working with the school and setting up accommodations to diminish the target on his back, I still felt and continued to feel that those bullies were just awful. Especially, the one boy, the biggest of the three little villains. I knew that he was the one that taunted my son. I could hear and see him yelling from the bus at times.

Now, I was also frustrated with the parents. I kept seeing them at scout meetings and wanted to approach them about the issues, but as the bullying was dying down and there hadn't been any more problemst. I knew that his parents probably thought of my son as the problem, and that their son was the innocent victim, but as everything seemed to be going fine on the bus, I decided not to stir the pot.

Until tonight. 

My daughter just so happens to be in the same class as Bully #1's sister. Tonight was the teacher meet and greet at the school and their mom was right behind me. Our daughters get along pretty well, though I have felt that her daughter can be a bit bossy (surprised?). 

As we waited to talk to the teacher, I casually made my way to their mom and stroke up a conversation. I gently dropped into the conversation about how happy I was with my son's class this year and with his IEP plan. That provided me with an opportunity to explain that my son has Asperger's and ADHD (HELLO! YOUR KID WAS BULLYING MINE!!). 

She clearly had no idea and went on to explain how her son has a seizure disorder that can make it hard for him to control his emotions. On top of that, he has to take medication to prevent the seizures, but it makes him incredibly irritable. She expressed how she felt bad about the situation on the bus and was glad that every thing had been going well lately. 

Importantly, though, I had no idea about this boy's situation. I judged him just like so many others have judged my son. And just like those "others", I was wrong. Lesson learned!

Oddly enough, I was talking to my son about bullying today. He seems to be getting along well with his classmates lately, which I partly contribute to his dye free diet (See Day 59 Riding Dye Free). He brought up a situation where another boy who has special needs came over to him and his friends. My son explained that he likes this kid because the boy is always wondering how things work, "just like me" he says! He said that the boy asked his group what they were doing and one of the boys told him nothing. I could tell something bothered him. 

I felt like maybe my son didn't agree with the "nothing" answer. He knew that they were obviously playing, but the other boy had been left out. I took this opportunity to tell him that we should always be kind to others. We definitely don't pick on others or make them feel bad. His response "I would never do that!" (Proud). Then, I went on to say that we can't allow others to be bullies either. If he were to witness bullying, say something to a teacher. If you see a child that's not being allowed to join in, then try to include them. He seemed to really think about this. I hope he's able to connect with that other boy that thinks like him too. I hope he's able to accept having new friends, but also be that friend to someone who may be feeling left out as well. 

Hopefully, my son and I both have learned from today. I will say that I felt incredibly grateful that my son considered the situation with the other boy today. His conscience knew that something wasn't right. I'm glad he discussed it with me. I have never doubted what a wonderful heart he has, though others have probably judged differently because of his low frustration tolerance, but that heart of his sure made me smile today. Love that boy.