Friday, April 22, 2011

Adolescence Hell

I love, love, love teaching in a middle school.  I love the humor, the screaming hormones, the variety in size, shape, development.  Middle schools are my favorite places to be. I don't even mind the smells of middle schooler bodies after gym class.

But living with one such beast?  Not so much.  The rebellion and opposition, the angry fight to disengage from me as a parent, me as ruler, me as boss.  The lack of interest in personal hygiene drives me to distraction.  Unattended zits, body odor, greasy hair, wrinkled clothing covered in pet hair thrown on for a day at school, folders torn and full to overflowing with wrinkled, torn and stained papers, sleeping and more sleeping, waiting to do homework until the adults needed to help are ready for bed, the love for inane and really stupid adolescent TV shows, excessive milk consumption, growing an inch every few months which then necessitates new clothing and shoes, and did I mention the constant opposition and lack of awareness of how one is affecting others?

Now multiply that by one million or so, and you have my life with Movie Man.  Add to above list, ADD, communication disorder, anxiety disorder, learning disability, no internal clock (no clue how much time is passing or sense of where he should be at any given time), and some perseveration.

I will be honest.  I do feel the almost impossible not to act on urge to run.  Pack the car with some precious items (books, chocolate, bottle of bourbon, jeans and t-shirts, debit card, license and iPhone) and leave.   This is really hard to fight.  Really hard.  And there are times I am reduced to a very silent, close to tears, giver upper.

I love Movie Man.  I love him so much it hurts.  I am very afraid for him.  His faulty wiring seems impossible to overcome at most, compensate for at the least. And right now, he is fiercely defending his position that he has nothing to overcome, no responsibility to own his deficits and mindfully work on them.   And even though I know he is doing his adolescent job, most days I am very depressed about it all.

In 10 years (not any more optimistic than that) I hope to look back on this period and chuckle.  I hope to look back on this period and say, "Who knew he would ever be successful and happy?"

I just hope I haven't suffered a debilitating stroke or heart attack getting us there.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mother Guilt; How Did I Miss It?

So, I have been very busy getting used to my new gig and protesting in Madison.  Our Governor is ruining our state. The sick will be sicker and become hopeless, the poor will become even more poor and be forced to live even less healthy lives, the wonderful teachers of Wisconsin are retiring in droves, many are scrambling to find second jobs, putting their houses on the market, selling second cars, canceling vacations, and the wealthy will get richer and share even less.  Families with kids on waivers and such for extra services will no longer be able to offer their kids what they need to improve.  

It is very scary in Wisconsin right now.  Very scary.

So, on to the personal.  The mother guilt part.  

Movieman has always had some issues as I have mentioned earlier in this blog.  He has significant learning issues, executive functioning and working memory deficits, ADD, and an anxiety disorder.  So that is what we have been attending to.  And it has been ineffective.

Middle school has been quite the, well how shall I describe it?  I can't.  It has been a mixed bag with mostly  very low lows.  On the up side.  We have a good cocktail of meds that are working effectively to help the anxiety as well as the ADD.  He scored advanced in the reading section of the WKCE and proficient in the math section.  He has an incredible LD resource teacher.  Really.  She is a saint.  Movieman had a horrible LD resource teacher for two years.  A woman with no business holding a license to teach let alone a job working with kids.  So we have already survived a two year wasteland of crap services.   

On the down side we have seen the social/communication gap widen exponentially between Movieman and his peers.  I will spare you the details, no, the glaring evidence, that I was not seeing objectively.  I mean I am trained in this stuff for God's sake!  I lost my objectivity.  My sharp observation skills were dulled by mother love.  Have you seen the view from the River of Denial?  It is breathtakingly peaceful.
Let's now add years and years of communication patterns that are spectrum-ish.  Add to that his almost lifelong avoidance of hugs form most people, including me.  I always chalked it up to him being mad at me for having Superman.  Add to that a limited ability to empathize or connect much of what he chooses to do or not do to the natural consequences that follow.  

GRRR!  I am so, so, so mad at myself.  STUPID mom!  

So we now head into more assessments looking for a communication disorder label to access as much speech and language services and some social skills group work.   

I am almost ready to acknowledge and accept that Movieman has had his needs neglected for many years because I was in denial, took my eyes off the obvious, and put all my energies into Superman's therapies.  I neglected one son to save another.  I sacrificed one son to keep another from slipping away.

How will I ever be able to right this wrong?