Monthly Archives: March 2012

I Hate You, Mom

As seen this week on TheNextFamily.com (3/28/2012):

So life has been buzzing along over here at Dodd-Hise Paradise at breakneck speeds it seems.  Noah had his twelfth birthday, and seemed to go from loving, sweet kid to alien creature, yelling at me and such.  But I will get to that.  Harrison just turned five months old last Saturday – oh my God!  Five months old!  She is doing so much, and a lot of things well in advance of when she is supposed to hit those milestones.  First she was rolling over onto her back, several weeks early.  Then she rolled from back to tummy, like, almost two months early.  She started blowing raspberries at us, which is absolute GREATNESS.  She’s trying really hard to sit up by herself, but just not quite there yet.  Yes, our child is an absolute genius – you don’t have to tell us…we know this.  We’re going to start sign language with her soon, and she will soon move into her big girl carseat – big, exciting stuff, huh??  In the next few weeks we will be filing the petition for adoption and get THAT ball rolling – so she should be legally mine in the next few months!  That will be a whole new series coming up, so be looking for it!

Houdini has figured out how to get out of her bouncer straps….and very proud of it!

Now back to Noah. My goodness. As I have written about before, he has been having some school issues, with grades and apparently some bullying. So okay, we can deal with that. He had a good week home with me for Spring Break, with a trip to Bass Hall in Ft. Worth a few days before his birthday to see the Broadway production of Young Frankenstein. On the day of his actual birthday, he wanted to go to Main Event for bowling, laser tag, and games. We invited a couple of my sorority sisters’ kids to come, and we were soon there, having a great time. So here he was, finally twelve years old. His birthday came and went, and then it was back to school as usual. Oh dear Lord baby Jesus. By the end of that first week back, I had already gotten an email from a teacher regarding Noah’s work, and the lack of its presence in his (the teacher’s) hands. On Friday, after he came home, he told me that he had homework that was due on Monday, in one of the classes that he has been doing poorly in. So while he wanted to do his homework over the weekend, I wanted him to go ahead and get it done on Friday night. He did half of it and decided he was done and going to go to his room to read. This prompted me telling him to go back and finish, as well as Erikka – all to no avail. He ignored us both, saying that he could do it the next day. I finally got to the point where I had had enough, so I went into his room and took his Kindle away (new birthday gift – possibly a big mistake on my part). Let’s just say that he wasn’t happy. He blew up! He started yelling and screaming at me, and I just kept telling him that he couldn’t read on the Kindle until he decided to finish his homework, whenever that was. He yelled some more, started crying, and finally told me that he hated me. Oh my. He hated me. I felt that pain in my heart that I did not remember experiencing before. Had Nicholas told me that he hated me? I couldn’t remember. I turned around and walked out, went to the kitchen and told Erikka what he had said. I almost cried. But instead, I turned around and announced that I was going back in, to take something else away. Well, THAT turned things a little uglier for a few minutes. I walked in and proceeded to take away his other big-ticket birthday item: the new, red guitar. Ohhhhh the screaming! He then started ripping the pictures off of his wall – that HE had drawn. I looked at him and said, “um, this doesn’t hurt ME you know. You are the one who worked hard on those drawings. And you are the one who will have to pick up the trash and throw them away.” I didn’t know what else to do or say, so I left again, handing off the guitar to be stashed.

But ever since I picked him up yesterday afternoon, he has been great.  Very loving, very huggy, done his homework, doing what he is supposed to do.  I’m telling you, the mood swings are CRA~ZY!  There is no way that I could have been like that at twelve years old!  My mama would have snatched every hair out of my head!  I’m already a little scared of when Harrison gets hormones…yikes!  But I have survived one kid telling me that they hate me, so I guess I’m a little ahead of the game, eh?

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Mom, I Want a Facebook Page

So last week I wrote about our struggles that we have been having with Noah and his schoolwork.  That same day that my blog went live, he had a terrible day that poured over into his afternoon at home, and on into the evening and night.  He was in a foul mood, and I didn’t help matters by making him sit at the dining table working on assignments that he was missing in one of his classes – by God he was NOT going to take any more zeroes on my watch!  The evening dragged on, and his mood deteriorated.  I kept asking him what was wrong, and his attitude just got worse, until finally he was in tears – only I didn’t know why.  Bedtime of 9 PM came and went, and he still sat, crying, at the dining room table.  By 9:30 PM, I think he was done with his work, but still crying, so I finally told him to just go to bed.  I asked him, again, what was wrong, but only got tears.  So I told him again that if he wasn’t going to tell me what the problem was, then he needed to just go on to bed, and I got up and went back into the den with Erikka.

A few minutes later, he came into the den and, still crying, sat down beside me and just melted down.  My eyes got big as he leaned on my arm and sobbed; so I knew that this was more than just our crackdown on him for his schoolwork.  After a few minutes, when he settled down a bit, he finally got it out that he was tired of being picked on and pushed around by kids at school.  We asked if he meant in the hallway, in classrooms, or after school outside.  He said sometimes in the hallway, in several classes, and sometimes after school.  Now, I knew that he had been made fun of since elementary school for being smart, for wearing glasses, for having a big overbite.  We, all of his parents collectively, have told him to pay no mind to those who make fun of him for being smart, because when he is finished with school, it is unlikely that he will see a majority of them again in the future.  So okay, now I am going to have to go back up to the school and make ANOTHER report of bullying going on.  I have absolutely NO tolerance for bullying, so I’m not one of these parents who will say, “Oh just ignore it and walk another way.”  Aw hell no!  Stop it from happening!  Anyway, I digress.  Back to the tearful chat.  Noah continued, after telling us he was tired of being picked on and pushed around.  He said that in one particular class, there is this “kid” who threatens to hurt him regularly, and tries to trip him every day when they are walking out of the classroom.  This “kid”?  A GIRL.  Oh yeah, that makes it worse.  When he got to telling us about what this girl has been doing, he got all worked up again.  He seemed absolutely distraught to tell us that earlier that same day, the girl had taunted him…about ME.  Ohhhhhh.  Erikka and I glanced over his weeping head, and I thought, “Ah.  Well it has finally happened.”  I instantly went back to when it happened to Nicholas, but he was in high school, so the redneck who did it to him had a pretty classless name for me.  So now Noah has had it happen to him, and I braced myself for it.  I said, “OK son.  What did she call me?”  But he wouldn’t answer.  “Did she call me a dyke?”  No.  “Did she call me a lesbo?  Lezzy?”  No.  I was trying to avoid the worse ones, like what the kid had said to Nicholas.  “Noah, did she call me a….lesbian?”  Yes.  He looked mortified.  I had to keep myself from laughing.  “Um, Noah.  Do you know what that word means?”  Yes.  It means I am married to a woman instead of a man.  “Noah, it isn’t a bad word.  It isn’t an ugly word or ugly name that she called me.  It is what I am.  Now, she, I am sure, meant it to be ugly and was trying to be ugly, but you should not take it as such.”  I asked him how he responded, which is also important, and he said he just told her that she “crossed the line.”  We said that it was a very good response, rather than being hateful in return, or starting a confrontation – neither of which would make her see her wrongdoing.  I told him that I would take care of it as best I can, considering that I couldn’t go to the school and thump the ignorant little twit in the head!  We went on to explain to him about bullying, and that he cannot respond to other people’s bullying behavior by acting the same way.  I told him that if she says anything about me again, or about our family, that he needs to respond with, “Hey, you’re crossing a line.  That is my family you’re talking about, and I don’t make cracks about YOUR family.  How would you like it if I started saying things about YOUR mother?”  By a little after 10 PM, he had calmed down and was ready to go to bed.  He seemed a bit better, having gotten it off of his chest, and awoke in an entirely different frame of mind, I think.

Who would want to bully THIS cute kid???

Who would want to bully THIS cute kid???

I got up the next day, and after seeing Noah off to school, I called the teacher of the class that he shares with this girl.  After I explained to her what Noah had told me, she seemed appalled that this had happened in her classroom, under her nose, and she had not seen or heard any of it.  She said that she had gone through the same thing with her own two boys, where kids were saying the same thing to them about her.  I’m not sure if she was saying, in a roundabout way that she is also a lesbian, but it doesn’t matter; she sympathized and wanted me to know that she found it to be unacceptable behavior.  She said that she was going to have a “character development” lesson in class to address bullying and judging each other, and make sure that they all knew that it wouldn’t be tolerated.  She also said that she was going to mention it to the sixth grade counselor, and give her the heads up that I would be calling.  Apparently she did, because at the end of the day Noah told me that the counselor called him in to discuss what had happened – which made me nervous since I didn’t get a chance to talk to her first.  How was I to know whether or not this counselor would have a personal view about families like ours that would NOT help our boy?  Fortunately, he said that she told him that he needed to ignore this girl’s meanness, because there are all kinds of families, and that his is perfectly okay, because everybody can love whomever they want to.  Bravo Ms. Counselor!!  And thank you, thank you, thank you!  She also told him that when they return to school after Spring Break, she intended to have a word with the girl, and put some fear into her….hahahaha.  Hopefully it will be a good “come to Jesus” meeting – oh to be fly on the wall in her office THAT day!

* * * * *

This morning Noah told me that he wanted a Facebook page.  My reaction?  HA!  Hell no.  No way.  No Facebook page until you are in high school.  He asked why, and I had to explain to him that as much as he hates being bullied at school for being smart, or because of me, that it is worse when you have a Facebook page.  I told him that kids now will not only bully each other at school, but that it doesn’t end there; they do it online, on Facebook, on instant messaging – and they do it meaner in the faceless arena of the Internet.  As I said before, I have NO tolerance for bullying.  I have seen kids do it unmercifully to each other, and as time goes on, it gets worse and worse.  Kids are now killing themselves because of bullying that has happened to them.  Some of those kids are gay and being bullied because of that; but others AREN’T gay, and still being bullied to death!

This is the link to a blog I wrote a year ago, last March, about bullying (in case you are interested):

https://domesticdyke.com/2011/03/07/how-many-bullies-will-it-take

If you, or someone that you know, is being bullied, don’t sit by and wait for it to get better.  Do something.  Call someone.  Step in and say something to the bully, if you must.  Don’t let someone that you love, or even someone that you remotely tolerate, be a victim of bullying.  If they won’t listen to you, then direct them to someone that they might listen to.  The Trevor Project is a great resource for crisis and suicide prevention, particularly among LGBT youth.  Too many lives have been lost as a result of bullying.  We must ALL do our part to prevent even one more.

http://thetrevorproject.org

The Trevor Lifeline
(866) 4-U-TREVOR
(866) 488-7386
Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
All calls are toll-free and confidential.

It’s Just Been One of Those Days

As seen this week on TheNextFamily.com (3/7/2012):

So I’m having one of those moments.  Actually, it’s more like a couple of those moments.  The kind, as a parent, where you feel like you have somehow managed to do all of the wrong things and it is now showing in everything that your child does – or does not – do.  I’m also having a bit of parental sadness, now that the oldest has left and is officially property of the United States Navy.

A few days ago, Nicholas awoke at his Dallas hotel room with a fellow recruit, and checked in with his recruiter.  They went through some last step testing, being sworn in, and finally taken to D/FW airport and put on a plane for Chicago.  Once they got there, I only have speculation as to how things went, but I know that a major hair cut was involved, a ten second phone call to his wife to let her know he had arrived, and a plea to her that she had “better pray for his ass.”  Apparently they had already begun yelling at the new recruits upon arrival.  Nice.  It will be three weeks before he is allowed another call to her, and after that, he will have to earn phone privileges for the remainder of basic training.  After that first phone call, it is my understanding that his phone was to be taken and shipped back to Krystal, along with his civilian clothes.

The night before all of this took place, we drove down to Dallas to have dinner with him at the hotel, so we could say our goodbyes before he left.  There were several of us there to see him off, and I hope that he felt special and loved.  The actual goodbye, with the hugs and such, was short and sweet, as he had to go meet his recruiter.  I still managed to cry, and didn’t want to let go of him once I had him locked in my mama embrace.  The last thing I said to him was to stay safe and strong.  He will be a completely different person when I see him again, at the end of basic training and walking through graduation before heading to school in Florida.  These are the moments that I used to sit and wonder about when he was small – what kind of person would he grow up to be. 

But as far as here, today, moment by moment with his little brother, Noah – now THAT is another story.  I’m not really sure where we got derailed, but we most certainly have (with his schooling) and he is heading for a huge crash if we don’t get him back to a station soon.  Noah is one of those brilliant kids, and no, I’m not just saying that because I am his mom.  When he was three, I was at a tire shop waiting for new tires to be put on my Jeep.  Nicholas was helping me out by chasing him around the showroom and keeping up with him, because the boy NEVER stopped moving.  Every once in a while Noah would run up to me, say something, and take off again.  After a bit, a man who was sitting nearby peered out from behind his magazine and asked, “How old is your little boy?  He is very smart.  I would venture to say that he is gifted.”  I laughed and said, “Oh yeah right.  Gifted at what?  Being a pain in the butt?  I’m sorry if he has been bothering you.”  His response was, “No, I really believe he could be gifted.”  To that I snarkily said, “Oh really?  And how are you qualified to say that about a three-year-old running around?”  He said, “I am a gifted and talented teacher.  This is what I do, assess and teach children like this.  And your son, for three years old, speaks very well and concisely.”  Oh.  Um, wow.  Thank you.  By the time he was in Pre-Kindergarten, he was tested and I was told could have skipped a grade based on his scores.  By the end of Kindergarten he was reading on a 9th grade level.  Yeah, my baby was scary smart, and his older brother used to say that his little brother was so much smarter than he!  All of that aside, Noah breezed through elementary school, with grades of high A’s the entire time.  He won the Spelling Bee for his entire school, two years in a row.  And academics took little to no effort for him; we were so proud.

But then he went to sixth grade this year.


The first six weeks of school, I had no idea that his grades had started to tank as much as they had.  Then the first report card arrived, and he not only had As, but Bs, and Cs – oh my God, no way!!  By the time the second report card arrived, he was failing two classes.  Erikka and I started making a point of daily discussions about assignments, grades, responsibility, etc.  We emphasized that he doesn’t have to be perfect, but that he has to do his very best, and that THIS wasn’t it.  By the time the third report card was to come out, with his semester grades as well, it was clear that he was in a danger zone and could quite possibly fail for not only a third six weeks, but for a semester as well.  After finally receiving some emails and/or calls from teachers, we discovered that the failing grades, across the board and every class, was due to one thing and one thing only:  not turning work in and taking zeroes.  So then he was in real trouble – with US.  ALL of us.  He was grounded from television and video games.  His days consist of school, band practice, homework, reading, dinner, and more reading.  I hate for it to be like this, and I feel like he is missing out on the fun parts of being a kid.  I guess it would be different if he was struggling and not understanding the material in his ADVANCED classes, but every teacher has unanimously concurred that he is very smart and understands, yet isn’t turning in his work.  What in the hell goes through the minds of kids this age???  Erikka and I, and his dad as well, have gone to great lengths and have done everything that we know to do to help him get organized, stay organized, and get his work done and turned in on time.  We created a planner for him to write his assignments in every day, and I thought that he was really starting to do better.  Well the latest report cards came out last week, and while he has brought up the grades in the classes he was earlier failing, he is now failing in other classes, or barely passing in still others.

But today, I am feeling frustrated and defeated.  I got another email this afternoon from yet another teacher, telling me that he has not turned in three out of four assignments and is therefore failing.  This came from a teacher of one of his electives.  I have sat here all afternoon, near tears and not knowing what to do.  He is SO smart, and I do not understand why he continues to do this.  I know that at first he started letting his grades tank on purpose because he had gotten made fun of and teased for being smart.  He decided that he didn’t want to be smart any more, but rather be “normal” like everyone else and in “normal” classes like everyone else.  But when I told him that I absolutely would not take him out of the advanced classes, I thought that he got the message and would get his act together.  He cannot seem to give any of us a clear reason as to why he isn’t doing his work, or isn’t turning in the work that he has done.  I know that in the public schools in this district, once they leave elementary school, they are kind of thrown into the middle school world, and left to sink or swim.  Part of me wants to take him out and homeschool him, but I don’t think that it is the answer for us – while it works for some, I don’t know if it would for Noah.  There are some schools in the Dallas area that are specifically for kids with “learning differences,” and severe ADHD like his falls into that category.  In fact, my daughter-in-law’s mother works at one of these schools and has brought me a packet of information on it.  I would absolutely LOVE for Noah to go to one of these schools – and then I saw the tuition costs.

%#THUD@&

That was me falling off of the couch when I saw the schedule of tuition for next year.  Let’s just say that Nicholas could have gone to one of our fabulous junior colleges and gotten an associates degree for less than one year’s tuition at this specialized school.

So back to being frustrated and not knowing what to do to help Noah.  None of us, his parents, knows anything else to do for him aside from what we have.  My last resort, I think, is to take him out of band.  He loves it, and it would break my heart to do it, but I may have to in order to have maximum impact.  Sigh.

Yep.  It’s been one of those days.