Share Your World 2013 – Week 8

Rocks

I don’t feel like doing anything other than writing right now so I thought I’d share my world with all of you.

Question: What is your favorite day of the week?

Answer: The last few years it’s always been Saturday because that’s when my hubby’s work week ended and we could get in some good quality family fun but since he got laid off in December it is fast becoming Friday’s. We do field trip Fridays with our son Joey and together are getting the opportunity to not only learn but to have fun while accomplishing that goal. So far we’ve gotten to go into space at our local Discovery Museum and last week we toured the California Automobile Museum and got to discover a whole new line of vehicles – micro’s and mini’s. Joey really loved them because they were sized just about perfect for a 5-year olds imagination though I doubt he’d still have been able to utilize the gas and brake peddles since they are legal street vehicles that adults drive. I’m now in the process of researching new places to experience within a 2-hour drive from our home base and am truly excited at all the possibilities. If the rain holds off this week then we’ll be off to pan for our fortunes while learning about the California Gold Rush. Something Joey’s been dying to try ever since we went camping this past summer and one of our camping “neighbors” gave him a gold pan and filled his head with stories of all his treasure hunts around California. He was even kind enough to give him a little vial filled with real gold which of course has since been broken while the kids were playing with it. Who knows, maybe we’ll get enough from our own panning experiences to fill a family vial.

Question: Have you ever had a recurring dream? What was it?

Answer: I have and I’ll be darned if I can recall it at the moment. You know it’s immediately evident upon waking that you’ve had this same dream before, for me at least a half-dozen times and if my memory serves me correctly I do have it written down in a journal somewhere and even went so far as to discuss its meaning with a therapist a dozen years back but I can’t even recall one detail of it right now.

Question: Have you ever been drunk?

Answer: Yes, when I was turning 16 my friends threw me a pony kegger party and I drank so much beer that I ended up throwing up several times and to this day dislike even the smell of beer. I also tied one on at my girlfriend Suzy’s bachelorette party when we had a little tequila drinking contest with shots – I won. I think that was the only time in my life where I physically felt so out of balance. Even laying down I felt as though I was spinning around in circles. Both those experiences taught me that alcohol should only be consumed in moderation if it is meant to be truly enjoyed.

Question: Out of your five senses (touch, taste, sight, smell, hearing) which is your favorite?

Answer: Oh, that is such a great question. I think because of the fact that my health has created the possibility of losing my sight one day down the road that I don’t take it for granted at all and it makes me value it a little more as I know it’s not a given. Now having said that I would say that touch is my favorite because I’m a very tactile person. I’ll see something and immediately reach out to touch it, to experience it first hand and to try to capture a little of its essence if I’m drawn to it right away by sight. I also like to connect with others and think that touch is such a powerful medium for doing just that. I couldn’t imagine never holding hands with my son, or feeling my husbands whiskers against my chin when he leans in for a quick kiss. I love to feel the heat rolling of rocks, the softness of my dogs bellies, and to feel creation occurring when I let clay travel through my fingers on a wheel leaving tendrils of wet silt running down my arms and onto my jean clad legs.

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Moto Boy

Getting all geared up for his first ride.

Getting all geared up for his first ride.

My 5-year old son has begun to ride with Daddy on his motorcycle and I am so not ready for it. We bought him a really cool looking DOT helmet and a special harness that attaches him to Daddy and has handles so that he can feel secure and yet I’m still terrified. I’ve let him ride around the neighborhood for a couple of days now and he absolutely loves it, so much so that the first words out of his mouth each morning is “motorcycle”. I know this is a losing battle for me as all the Monson men ride and my husband is counting down the days until Joey will join their family tradition and have a motorcycle of his own. But still he is only 5 and my baby and as I said I am terrified. All the what-if’s keep running through my mind: What if someone hits them, what if the motorcycle goes down, what if he wants his own motorcycle in a year or two… I am so not ready for any of those things should they happen. Having said that though I want to support his passions and the dreams my husband holds so dear. Sometimes it is so hard to be a mother and to let go of my own fears so that my son can accomplish what his heart desires. Sometimes it is so hard to be a wife when I’m not aligned with my husbands goals.

Today I allowed them to go out of the neighborhood, just down the street mind you, but still there will be stop lights to contend with and other drivers clogging the roadways. I let them go though, off to Starbucks for coffee and hot cocoa and now I sit here waiting on pins and needles for their safe return. While I’m scared silly of the possibilities I know they are having the time of their lives, bonding, and just being boys.

Exhilarated after their first ride together.

Exhilarated after their first ride together.

Share Your World 2013 – Week 6

California State Capital
I love the eclectic randomness of Cee’s questions. It opens my mind and makes me really have to think of what I would do differently than I’m doing now. Here are her questions for week 6. It would be a lot of fun if those of you that follow me would write some of your answers to these same questions in the comments section.

Question: If you given $22 million tax-free dollars, what is the first thing you would do?

I’d buy some property in the mountains and build custom homes for my in-laws and my sister so we could connect more often and perhaps on a more authentic basis. I would self publish a book. I’d love to start a non-profit for battered women and their children to help them get back on their feet. I’d finance my husband’s dream of owning and operating a cigar lounge even though I don’t like the smelly things. I’d also build a charter school K-12th grades that offered a lot more than our public school system and only hire the most creative, loving, and intellectual teachers out there. Those are just a few of the things I would do.

Question: Where were you born?

You know I think it was San Jose, California but I’m always unsure as it could have been Santa Clara as well. I do know it was California and in the Bay Area as I’m a California girl through and through and think their is no better state to live in even if the cost of living can be much higher than other states. We have all this natural beauty here from oceans to mountains and lots of things to see, do and learn from.

Question: Can you change a car tire?

If I had to I could do it as my Uncle Armas taught me how to properly do it when I first got my license a gazillion years ago. I’ve only had to change it myself one time and the rest of my experiences have been handled by AAA. The last time I attempted it I couldn’t even manage to get one lug nut off and called my husband to come help me. He also couldn’t get the lugs loose so we had to call for service. When the tow truck arrived the guy even had difficulty succeeding at the task and had to had a long pipe onto his lug wrench to get the leverage needed.

Question: What is your favorite part of the town/city you live in. And what Country do you live?

I live in the United States, in California as stated above. The favorite part of my city is first of all my friends. I’m fortunate to live on a circle that two of my best friends live on which makes it so easy to get together and to allow for opportunities for our kids to play together. I love the diversity of experiences available to us as a family. We have the State Capital here, tons of restaurants of all types, lots of natural environments to get lost in like state forests and the Sacramento river, and a lot of museums and music venues.

Share Your World 2013 – Week 5

I’m back at it again, sharing my world through Cee’s questions. I get a kick out of seeing my own responses and look forward to seeing what questions she’ll be asking next. A lot of them make me really ponder the answer and others bring memories flowing back to me like a river flowing out to the ocean. Let’s get to it.

Question: Are you a morning or night person?

Answer: In years past I’d have to say that I was definitely a morning person and now while I still wake up easily and happily I have found that I’ve also evolved into a night person. Thanks to my Fibromyalgia I have a lull that hits between 3:00 and 5:00 PM and if I give in to it I’ll usually end up napping for about three hours. If I don’t which is usually the case since I have a child to take care of not to mention a Mother that I provide full-time care for then I seem to hit my stride again and become wired and then am unable to wind down until Midnight. Wasting away the hours watching TV, or playing on the computer, or more productively reading a good book on my Kindle. Regardless of the time I crawl into bed at night I’m still awake by 6:00 AM at the latest.

Question: What is your preferred hot drink: coffee, tea, water or other?

Answer: This one is so easy for me to answer – Tea. I was raised on the stuff and still love it to this day. My grandma was Australian and each afternoon we’d have tea and a yummy treat that she’d usually baked up that morning. With each cup I consume it makes me think of her and all the lovely times we shared. I’ve even begun sharing it with Joey though his is luke warm to my very hot cup and he doesn’t get it all the time so when he does he recognizes it’s a special treat. One of these days I’m going to have to break out my grandma’s recipe boxes, whip up some cream puffs and sit down with him for a proper cup of tea.

Question: What was your favorite toy as a child . . . and now?

Answer: Lincoln Logs were one of my very favorite toys. I loved to build with them making the cutest cabins, horse stables, balance beams for my barbies. Whatever my imagination could cook up I’d attempt to build with my Lincoln Logs. I loved making up stories about the people and how they lived in my cabins. And yes, I did watch a lot of Little House on the Prairie as well as read all the books so my imagination had a lot of fuel to fan the fire with. Speaking of books that was also one of my favorites as a child. I don’t know that you could call them a toy since I didn’t actually play with them but I spent hours as a kid reading – on my bed, in the shed in our back yard, hidden under the palm leaves out front where no one thought to look. I loved my books and still do today. Nothing can transport you to another realm so easily as a well written book.

Question: If you had a choice which would be your preference salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, hot tub, ski resort or desert?

While I do love the sound of the ocean I’d still have to go with a fresh water lake. I love the way anything touching down on it creates a ripple effect that works its way to the edges of the water affecting everything in its path. I love that most lakes are surrounded by trees, glorious trees that whisper their words of wisdom on the winds. I like to lake there and listen to the water lapping at the shore, hear the wind songs coming off the tree and simply observe the wild life that is to be found in this environment be it butterflies, squirrels or snakes. It’s the place where I feel most at home and it simply soothes my soul.

A Mother’s Insinct – Don’t Ever Doubt It

I’ve had Joey at a private preschool this year in order to get him prepped to enter Kindergarten next year.  He attended The Learning Cottage last year for two days a week and both he and I loved it but since we moved I had to find a different one for him to attend this year.  After asking around to my mom friends, reading reviews, etc. we settled on one that is housed in one of our larger churches in the area.  As my in-laws really wanted Joey to be exposed to their Christian views I thought this would serve our purposes in more ways than one.  Boy was I wrong.

My son entered this school with a love of learning and a high level of self-esteem and left it feeling “stupid” and that he was a “bad boy”, neither of which did we teach him.  He was getting more and more reluctant to go and I thought it was just separation anxiety since he and I are so close and it is a big step to go from two days a week to five.  After only 4 months though it became a daily struggle to get him to let me go at the class room door, not to mention the emotional breakdowns he was experiencing in the 3 hours a day that he was there.  The teachers told me I was contributing to the problem by trying to soothe him and that I needed to be consistent or what would I do next year when he threw the same kinds of fits. 

Several times over the last few months I’ve wanted to pull him out, find some place different, or take him home and teach him myself but I allowed myself to be swayed by the Director of the program and his teachers.  I allowed them to manipulate me into thinking they knew better than I did what was best for my child.  Boy was I wrong.

Meanwhile they’d begun to label him as learning disabled, talked about his lack of focus, that he more than likely had some measure of ADD along with sensory issues.  I started to buy into it because his behavior was so drastically altered and after all they were the ones with years of educational experience.  Not only was he emotional at school, but at home as well which is something that was a rare occurrence previously.  He began getting angry if we didn’t understand what he was trying to convey.   He no longer wanted to do ABC puzzles with me, or play counting games.  He was to “stupid” to get it even though we’d been doing them for over a year and doing them successfully. His words, not mine as I think he’s simply brilliant.  I didn’t know what to do so I scheduled an appointment with his doctor to have him and the situation assessed by someone I trusted to be a more objective than I could at the time.

Susan, his doctor, gave him a thorough check up, asked him and us a lot of questions and came to the conclusion that he was just fine.  She didn’t think he had ADD or was challenged in any way.  She gave us some questionnaires that we and his teachers were to fill out and said she’d schedule us to talk with a mental health specialist whose study was ADD and sensory issues if we wanted to learn more.  I told her we’d think about it, had her schedule an appointment just in case we decided to go that route, and took the questionnaire home to review.  I had his teachers complete it and none of their answers aligned with what they’d been telling me.  I was thoroughly confused.  And by the way I did have the doctor do a thorough physical exam to rule out any physical abuse that may have occurred and she discussed safe touching with him again.  Meanwhile I still had one very unhappy boy.

Last Friday I dropped him off and he began to tear up.  His teacher, Miss Pat, told me “Mom hurry up and say good-bye and Joey your going to have to self-regulate your emotions today.”  I looked at her, fighting back my own tears and thought to myself – Okay Malana, don’t be an enabler.  I left my son standing there looking at me, tears in his eyes, breathing hard with the effort to not let them run down his face.  Boy was I ever wrong.

I walked out and immediately called my husband.  I told him I can’t stand this.  It’s breaking my heart.  As I talked to him I could see my son through the classroom window.  I’d made him a heart to take to school that said I loved him, I missed him, and I would see him soon.  I’d drawn pictures of our family on it so that when he got sad at school he would know that we loved him.  As I watched him through the window my  heart broke even more.  He was standing in front of the student cubbies holding that heart against his, crying for all he was worth and both his teachers were ignoring him.  I guess that’s their view of making sure he self-regulates his emotions.  I was about to go in when Jenny, a mom’s whose son is in Joey’s class, came in and immediately saw the situation and automatically went to soothe him.  She will never know just what that meant for me that day.

I drove home and immediately went to vent my concerns to my very good friend and neighbor Jessica.  She just let me get it all out which felt great since Larry and I haven’t been on the same page on this.  He thinks I’m to soft and I think he’s to hard, though together we make a pretty good parenting team but on this we couldn’t come together.  After I’d been there about 45 minutes he called me to say that Jenny had come by just to reassure me that Joey was okay when she’d left.  I think that may have helped to move him a little closer to my side of the issue.  When I returned home a few minutes later and he saw my tear-stained face he told me to do what I thought was best if it was going to continue to take this kind of emotional toll on both Joey and I.  This is why I love this man.

That was the last day Joey attended that school.  On Monday I began teaching him at home.  He has not cried since.  He’s staying focused and on task 95% of the time and when his attention wavers I’m able to get him back on point pretty quickly.  Learning disability?  I don’t think so, I think that’s just your typical 5-year old behavior.  He’s starting to believe he’s smart again after only a few days and he’s having fun learning.  On Friday we will go back so that he can say a proper goodbye to his school friends and to pick up his work from the past several months.

In hindsight all I can say is that I will never again doubt my instincts as a mother.  Never again will I walk away while my sons heart is breaking because some so-called expert tells me to.  Never again will I let someone trample on my sons spirit.  Never again.