Tag Archives: parenting

Signs of Life

A couple in the town where I was raised had five children, all of whom were at school with my sister and me at one time or another. I will call them the Bradleys. I remember them all fondly to this day.

Sometime around the mid 1980’s, the Bradleys’ oldest child was killed in a plane crash when a couple of pilots from the local Air Force base took one of the planes out for an unauthorized joyride. She was only in her early twenties, and left behind a toddler son whom the Bradleys subsequently adopted.

In 1992, their second oldest daughter disappeared. She was twenty three-years old. She was last seen leaving work, and her car was found abandoned three miles away. Foul play was suspected, and the girl was never heard from again. No body was ever recovered, and she is presumed dead.

On December 4th of this year, just a few short weeks ago, the Bradleys were celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary. The gathering took place on their houseboat where the family stayed overnight. They awoke the following morning to find their oldest son not on the boat.

After an extensive search of the grounds, and finding his car still there, they contacted authorities. Their 43 year old son’s body was found in the lake. As far as I know, the cause of death has not yet been released.

This couple has buried two children and lost three. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like, and what they must feel living in the house where their children were and still should be, looking around and not seeing the people who ought to be there.

As I look around my house, I see Nerf gun darts all over the floor. The television is blaring in the next room and no one is in there. My son has left it on again! He gets excited and runs out, leaving the door wide open, he drops dirty clothes in the bathroom floor, and he plays his music too loud.

These things usually irritate the heck out of me. Tonight, though, I’m thankful for them because they’re signs that my son is alive, well, and safe at home.

The next time I find a peanut butter smudge on the counter top or step in a sticky patch because a spill wasn’t cleaned properly, perhaps I won’t scold, but will gently remind my son to clean up after himself.

Dirty footprints, crumbs on the carpet, scattered toys and books, the sound of Nerf guns firing in the house. These are all signs of life, evidence that my son is still here; that he’s happy, healthy and enjoying life. Sure, these things can be irritating, but the agony of not having my precious child around to make messes or noise would be absolutely unbearable.

I am so very thankful that my son is only shouting distance away right now. I will hear him singing in the shower later. I may have to tell him for the umpteenth time to pick up his dirty clothes, but when I do, I will remember the parents who would give anything to find a mess on the bathroom floor tonight.

Tonight, I will also hear my son laugh, see him smile, enjoy his company, hug him and kiss him goodnight; and in the morning I will have breakfast with him. Because my son is here, and he is fine.

My thoughts are with the Bradleys tonight, and with all the parents crying themselves to sleep again — if they sleep at all.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Postcard Withdrawal

My favorite Postman is on vacation, so I haven’t had my daily dose of Gawd’s word in nearly a week. Postman said that regular delivery would resume on October 14th (that’s tomorrow!) and I certainly hope it does.

At least he left us with a few interesting things to read and ponder in his absence. As the parent of an eleven-year-old boy, I found this one particularly interesting and wanted to share it with my readers:

Learning From Mistakes Only Works After Age 12, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Sep. 27, 2008) — Eight-year-old children have a radically different learning strategy from twelve-year-olds and adults. Eight-year-olds learn primarily from positive feedback (‘Well done!’), whereas negative feedback (‘Got it wrong this time’) scarcely causes any alarm bells to ring. Twelve-year-olds are better able to process negative feedback, and use it to learn from their mistakes. Adults do the same, but more efficiently.

Read more at Science Daily


Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Feedback Requested

I received an email from my son’s Mulitmedia teacher. I find it disturbing for several reasons, and wonder if some of you would tell me what you think. First, here’s the email:

Hello Ms. [Rambleson],
I had a situation/ conversation with [John] today because he called two students names. [John] informed me that the first student– he was not talking to but the second student claimed that [John] called him stupid. I told [John] to go stand outside, this is where we talk to students about things we do not wish to share with the class in the portables because the AC is very loud– the good and the bad. He asked me why several times before doing so. This is a great question and I was more than happy to answer that for him but not in front of the class– which I told him once we were outside. I didn’t think our conversation was appropriate for the whole class because when I speak with [John] and another student, [John] tends to argue instead of talking about it so it turns into a mess instead of a productive situation.

For the remainder of class, I asked [John] if he would sit at a different table (without any students at it) so he could finish his work.

I spoke to the entire class on Friday about STEM core values (Respecting each other and “name calling”) and our expectations for our students in this program.

[John] told me that he is going to request to take Art instead. To do this he needs to go to the counselor, however, we expect STEM core values to be upheld in all of our classes.

I wanted to speak with you about this and hopefully together we can come up with a solution that will be easy to implement within a 45 minute period. I would like [John] to be part of the solution, as well, but I do not think we were ready for that today (due to time constraints).

Thank you for your time,
[Name withheld]

To begin with, I find this barely coherent. I’ve read it several times, and I’m still not sure what she’s asking me to do. It’s unsettling to see this quality of writing and communication from one of my son’s teachers, especially one whose whole job is based around communications.

The most I can gather is that John called another kid stupid and she dealt with it. So why is she writing to me about it? If a middle school teacher is so fragile that she needs to call in the troops over a little bickering between preteen students, I contend that she needs to seek employment elsewhere.

As to John being argumentative, I concede that he can be that way. I also know that it is quite normal for boys his age. That’s not to say that it’s OK, or that there shouldn’t be consequences, and I do not condone his arguing with teachers. I only say this to point out, once again, that this particular teacher seems ill-equipped to work with children my son’s age. Furthermore, while I admit to his being argumentative at times, I hardly call it making “a mess” of things.

John asked me last night if I think he’s a “screw up”. It broke my heart. I certainly hope he’s not getting that kind of message from his teachers.

After reading through the email several times, I can’t help wondering if the “mess” might be partly a result of this particular teacher’s inability to communicate effectively and take charge.

Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not the kind of parent who thinks her kid can do no wrong. I’m big on taking responsibility and making John do the same. But I know my son and I’m familiar enough with this teacher to suspect that perhaps not all the responsibility for the “mess” belongs to John.

I welcome honest feedback on this. I want help, not coddling.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Priceless

My son is the joy of my life. Things aren’t always perfect, by any means, but we have a deep bond and close relationship. He is rapidly growing into a young man, but even as I feel our relationship changing, I know it’s all for good. He’s growing and becoming more independent every day, and while I realize that our time is short, I am happy and proud to see him growing and developing into a happy, thoughtful, well balanced person, despite the many struggles we’ve had to endure.

Sometimes when I’m puttering around the house and my son is watching television or playing on the computer, I suddenly hear him burst out laughing. I don’t know what he’s laughing at, but just hearing it, just knowing that he is experiencing that happy moment makes me smile.

He sometimes darts past me and I ask what he’s doing. “Practicing being invisible”, he says. “Some day I’ll figure out a way to move so fast that you won’t even see me”.

He’s only half kidding, and we laugh together. He darts back the other direction and asks, “Did you see me that time?”

Occasionally, when I step out of the shower, I see a message in the steamy mirror. He wrote it in the steam after his last shower, and it remained invisible until the room steamed up again. It says, “I ♥ U Mom” with a big smiley face underneath.

He listens to music quite a bit on YouTube and has recently discovered an old song by The Impressions. He’s been singing it for the past several days and it brings joy to my heart to hear it. It lets me know that he is upbeat, happy and enjoying life.

Absolutely priceless! All of this!

I’d like to share my little buddy’s latest favorite, entitled, It’s All Right. When he watches it, he sits at the computer clapping his hands, rocking back and forth and singing along. I hope this helps brighten your Monday just as it has mine:

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Not My Proudest Moment

I really lost my cool, didn’t I?

I’m not sure how many of you saw the very angry post I made yesterday. It was about a regular troll who was not only starting to seem more like a stalker but had started harassing my son on his blog. Well, I totally lost my cool in that post, and I’m not exactly proud of how I handled myself. I’m not ashamed, I’m just not proud, if you see what I mean.

The post is gone. I’m not comfortable having something that harsh on my blog. Besides not being very proud of it, I don’t want to expose my readers to so much hostility. I would also like to apologize to anyone who was offended or made uncomfortable by it.

I don’t make apologies for posting my views here, but that particular post didn’t fall under the heading of ‘my views’ . I was fuming because someone attacked a child — and more specifically, my child— simply because he failed to get a rise out me any other way. I realize that I gave him exactly what he wanted by responding the way I did, but then again, it’s very difficult not to react when someone goes after your child.

I should also let everyone know that I have blacklisted the little stalker; you should also know that he has started following links from here to other blogs I read and comment on. He might start off acting friendly and seem quite normal before he blindsides you. He might also find posts that I have commented under and immediately start taking shots at me. It depends on what kind of rapport he thinks I have with the blog owner, I guess.

I’m not going to use his name here because he gets some kind of narcissistic thrill out of it, but if you start having trouble and suspect that it’s him, feel free to contact me. I will send you all the information I have on him so that you can add it to your blacklist as well.

Again, I apologize for the outburst. As passionate as I am about a lot of things, the way I reacted was not how I like to conduct myself. I hope no-one was put off enough to stop reading here.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you will continue to do so.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Them’s Fightin’ Words!

Good thing I’m not one for scrapping!

My son is an exceptionally bright young man. For the duration of this post, he will be referred to as John.

Rather than giving you details of the many ways in which he excels, let it be enough to say that his teachers have always remarked on how advanced he is intellectually; he’s creative and artistic as well; he draws, writes stories, and turns every game into a screenplay, probably because he wants to write and direct movies someday. Of course, that will come after he finds a way to implant some sort of microchip into the joints of people who can’t walk so that their own legs function similarly to an artificial prosthetic called the C-Leg.

John is constantly thinking, planning, creating and building things. He’s more interested in setting trends than in following them. He is extremely well spoken and articulate for his age, and his teachers and counselors often say that he is a “joy” to work with, commenting on how very “engaging” he is. He is an honor roll student who has already received several academic awards and commendations.

John is also sensitive, compassionate, well-mannered and respectful. He’s always willing and eager to help anyone who needs a hand. He tells the truth even when it might get him into trouble, and even if he could get away with lying.

As his mother, I’m probably biased, but many of these same observations have been made by uncountable people (often strangers he’s lent a hand to without being asked) throughout his life.

The trouble this creates for John is that he very rarely meets other kids his age who relate to him. If that’s not bad enough, he was actually picked on, made fun of, called names and even bullied for being “brainy” and attending the Gifted and Talented (GT) program last year.

Now that I’ve familiarized you somewhat with John, let me tell you about “them fightin’ words”.
Continue reading


The Big Day

My son just left for his first day of middle school. I thought I was ready for it; I thought I wanted him to go back to school. The house hasn’t been quiet for two months, and I thought I’d enjoy the peace. But it’s too quiet now; all I hear is the hum of the fan in the next room, and the ticking of the clock above my head. How apt!

Where has all the time gone?

I cried a little before sitting down to write this. My mind took me back to the days when my baby was learning to walk. His nose crinkled when he grinned, exposing all four of his teeth, as he staggered across the room. When his diapered bottom hit the floor, he giggled. He didn’t seem discouraged by falling, but rather pleased because he’d made it as far as he did.

I hope he never loses his glass-half-full perspective. He’s going to need it more now than he ever has.

I didn’t get to say goodbye before he left. Not the way I had wanted to. His friend came over to get him, and there is to be no lovey-dovey business in front of friends. I understand that and I respect his boundaries, but things felt incomplete. The kid came over twenty minutes earlier than planned, and so we were cut short to begin with, then my son said, “Bye, Mom!” and walked out the door without looking back.

I called him on his cell phone to tell him I love him and wish him a good day. I thought it’d be OK as school hadn’t yet started. He abruptly informed me that he’s not allowed to use the phone on campus and that he was shutting it off. “Bye, Mom!” Bzzzz….

So here I sit on The Big Day, tears streaming down my cheeks, unmotivated to do any work. Good thing I’m allowed to set my own hours. I know I sound terribly clingy, but I’m really not. Not as much as this post might suggest, anyway. I certainly won’t tell my son that I cried or any of that. I just thought that writing about this might help me feel better.

I was wrong.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On