Posts tagged lessons

Oh, mean people and their mean kids

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So earlier this week, I took my sweet boys to the park for a picnic. I grabbed myself some fried chicken then got Nathan some chicken nuggets. We spread out a sheet at the park and had a glorioius meal. John mostly lurched around on the sheet, trying to take Nathan’s drink while making those adorable grunting noises that he makes. As we were eating, a small group of boys, about 5 years old, come by kicking a soccer ball. They got pretty close to smacking me with the ball, and Nathan said, “Hey guys!!! We’re trying to eat so don’t kick that ball here!” Ha ha. I love that kid.

When we finished eating, Nathan bounded over to the playground to let off some energy as I cleaned up. John attentively supervised. After I packed everything back up, John and I meandered over to a bench so I could keep a better eye on the playgound happenings. That one kid with the soccerball was in the middle of all the playground equipent kicking his ball around. Literally. The kid was kicking it up onto the play structures and all over the place. He must have thought he was cool. The mother and some dude who may have either been her boyfriend or just someone she was flirting with were sitting on the swings. She appeared oblivioius to the antics of her kid and talked in this annoying high-pitched voice that oozed of low-self esteem and desperation.

After a while, Nathan took notice of this kid with the soccerball. See, I’ve always taught Nathan to share. Well, he doesn’t HAVE to share if he doesn’t want to- but those things he doesn’t want to share stay at home in his room. Once he brings it out and plays with it in front of others, it’s fair game. So with this knowledge, Nathan bounds over to the kid and asks him if he can play, too. The kid, being the incredible hotshot that he thought he was, starts fancy-kicking the ball away from Nathan. Nathan has poor fine and gross-motor skills, so he finds it absolutely fascinating to watch when other kids have more advanced skills than him. Nathan sees this ball-kicking an an invitation to start playing, so he starts chasing after the boy. I watch from a distance, curious to see how this would evolve. Of course, as an adult with years of experience on my side, I already knew what would happen. I could just about smell the stench of Entitled Jerk radiating off this kid. But I wanted to see how Nathan would handle it when the inevitable occured.

And the inevitable did indeed happen. After a couple of minutes of Nathan trying to kick the soccerball, the kid finally grabs it off the ground and tells Nathan to get away. I stand up, John on my hip, and start slowly walking toward them, just in case I needed to intervene. At first, Nathan, who doesn’t have a good grasp on social issues, started laughing. He told the kid that the nice thing to do on the playground is to share. The kid said he didn’t have to share.

And then the hand-flapping started.

And then the tears.

Nathan, who doesn’t understand this hostility, starts bellowing (loudly!) that if the kid doesn’t share, Nathan’s going to go home and never play with him ever again. The kid said, who cares? Nathan’s hand flapping became more vigorous as he started yelling that he wants to play and he wants to be friends. That stupid mother just sat there on the swing and laughed. Sensing a meltdown, I called Nathan over and whispered that some parents never teach their kids how to be good people, how to share, or even manners for that matter. I told him it might be best to stay away from jerks like that. Nathan tearfully agreed. I helped him dry his eyes and off he went to play with some other kids.

And then I heard that mother. I use the term loosely, as being a mother is an ACTIVE job. She told her boyfriend/fling/whoever he was that “I don’t know how old that other kid is- he’s such a brat and needs to grow up.” I bristled. If I was a dinosaur, my spines totally would have been poised for attack. About that same time, Nathan tried one last time to play with that awful kid and the mother called out, “Just throw it over his head. He can’t get it then!” Really? She’s actively encouraging bullying? Of a kid with autism?! Granted, she doesn’t know Nathan’s issues, but that’s just it- you never know. Nathan, thank goodness, didn’t understand the implications of her taunting. He heard her say throw the ball over his head and thought it was a game. He hand-flapped and screamed, “YEAH! LET’S DO THAT!”

I stood where I was at and stared at this mother. I really couldn’t believe she just acted that way towards my child. Apparently, I must have been putting off some don’t-mess-with-my-kid vibes because she started shifting around, eventually getting up and sitting in a few different places. And then one of the other kids started picking on Nathan- told him he wasn’t “allowed” in the rock-climbing contraption that forms a circle that kids can get inside. When he tried to go in anyway, the kid pushed him down. I called Nathan to me and told him it was best to go home rather than play with bullies who have no conscience. Sweet boy came with me to the car, crying the whole time about how he just wanted to be friends. I told him that some kids aren’t worth being friends with. It’s more peaceful to be alone than to play with mean old bullies. Poor sweetie insisted that they were going to be friends.

And, as icing on the cake, as I was getting the kids back in the car to leave, this “mother” comes walking out to her car with FOUR kids in tow. All the ones that were mean. How odd. I don’t know if they were all hers- I know the one with the soccer ball was. And then the one with the soccer ball gets in the car and starts throwing baseball bats, gloves, and balls out into the road! She just looked at him as was like, “now, now.” All the kids were swarming around the side of my car as I was trying to back up, and she didn’t even try to keep them safe. I had to wait for them to move away.

The more I’m around other kids, the more I start to dislike them. It’s not even the kids’ fault- it’s the parents’ fault for raising them that way. It seems there are quite a number of these typse of parents out there. We’ve ran into a few awesome parents at the park, but the vast majority of them are just as big of a jerk as their kid. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, huh?

My sweet, loving Nathan has much to learn. So much.

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Add another day of sickness to the list

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Nathan was sick earlier in the week last week, and guess what happened? Well I won’t keep you in suspense because I’m sure you’re just dying to know. Today, John, Paul, and I are all sick. Well, John and I are the sick ones and Paul hasn’t quite come down with it just yet- he can tell his body is trying to fight it off. Fingers crossed that he doesn’t get the full blown cold because let me tell you, it’s no fun!

Nathan definitely has a habit of spreading his sick germs around. Because of his sensory issues, he’s constantly walking around with his tongue hanging out of his mouth and he still drools often. Before he started preschool, he was really good about covering his coughs and sneezes with his elbow, but that’s all gone down the toilet after being around other kids at school. Apparently, he has class with a bunch of heathens because now not only does he not cover his mouth and nose, he’ll cough right in my face. Seriously, it’s worse now that it was when he was a toddler!

Speaking of the other kids in his class being heathens, he’s definitely picked up some bad habits from them. Like chewing with his mouth open. Oh my gosh, it’s so disgusting. Before he started school, he had excellent manners. Always chewed with his mouth closed, said his pleases and thank yous. But now? Now he has the nerve to look right at me and chew with his mouth WIDE OPEN. And the smacking makes me want to stab out my ears with a pumpkin carver. When that happens, this mama assumes he is no longer interested in actually eating rather than playing, so he’s dismissed from the table to his room.

What is WRONG with other parents out there? I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve seen (not counting at his preschool) who chew with their mouths wide open and smacking, the parents right there allowing it to happen. Kids throwing food on the floor, making demands, not saying please and thank you. It drives me batty because, well, I actually CARE about my child’s social graces. I tell him he’s not an animal and I expect him to act like a civilized human being. I also tell him that if he continues to act uncouth, he won’t have many friends in life.

So anyway, fingers crossed that this cold passes quickly because we’re a miserable bunch right now. I hate being sick on a weekend! Paul’s making some spicy ribs- maybe the salt and spiciness will help soothe my throat.

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Phone problems

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Well, my phone broke. As in, it died and went to cell phone heaven. See, for the past few weeks, it’s been rebooting over and over and OVER again. All… the… time. It would reboot when I would try to make a call, answer a call, and even in the middle of a call. And when it rebooted, it would be on a roll and reboot before it even finished rebooting- sometimes up to 8 or 9x in a row. Paul took it apart and discovered the power switch was broken. In other words, my phone thought the power switch was constantly being pressed, triggering it to reboot.

It drove me CRAZY!

So the other day, I had the baby in one arm and he was screaming his little heart out. I picked up my phone to check my text messages and it started rebooting. Over and over and over again. I had enough, so I threw it down on my pillow. My pillow. Let me reiterate that one more time: I threw it down on my PILLOW. And apparently, I have a magic pillow that only appears to be soft and comfortable, but it’s all a lie. It apparently is made of cold, angry steel that only forms when phones are thrown at it because my pillow cracked my screen.

Nope, I’m not joking. The screen is compleltely ruined. And since my phone is password protected, I cant enter in my password since the screen’s broken. That means that I can’t hook it up to the computer and grab all my pictures and videos off it. All the pictures and videos of John from birth until now.

I can’t get a new phone yet because our contract isn’t up until right around Christmas time. I’m hoping when we get new phones, Paul can put his screen on the phone he has now (which is the same phone I had) on my broken phone so I can retrieve my pictures. For now, I’ve had to go back to using and old Razr phone. IT SUCKS! Seriously! It’s a “dumb phone” (as opposed to a smart phone) so I can’t surf the web, the picture quality is crap, and it’s a big ole flip phone. I feel like I’m back in 2002 again! Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful I had it on hand so that I can at least still talk and text (using my thumbs since it only has one of those numeric keypads), but it’s super annoying and hard to get used to after having a smart phone for so long.

I know, I know. First world problems, huh?

Lesson learned: Don’t throw phones because apparently even soft surfaces can be deceptive!

I’m just hoping to get all my pictures off it. Those are all I have of sweet John.

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My scare of the week

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We had a scare with baby John the other day. I had him strapped into his bouncy and needed to tell Paul something. I walked from the living room, through the kitchen, and out onto the back deck. I wasn’t away from the baby for more than a minute when Nathan came running to the back door. Nathan didn’t even need to say anything; he opened the sliding glass door and the look of panic on his face said it all. We could hear the baby screaming through the open door, so I ran inside and Nathan kept crying that he was so sorry.

I darted into the living room and could hear the screaming. I saw the bouncy was unbuckled but John wasn’t in it! In my panic, I yelled to Paul that I couldn’t find him. And then I saw him on the other side of the cofee table, laying on his back, screaming while he flailed his little arms and legs in the air. I quickly scooped him up and brought him to my chest. He didn’t have a mark on him. No red marks, no bruises, nothing. Thankfully!

So here’s basically what happened: Since the baby was a little fussy, Nathan wanted to help him feel better. He’s seen me and Paul move John from the bouncy to the Bumbo seat, so Nathan thought he would do the same thing. Only before Nathan could get the baby to the Bumbo seat, John slowly slipped out of his arms and landed on his bottom. Then he fell backwards and his head hit the floor. Not hard enough to cause damage (thank God) but enough to piss him off and make him cry.

Nathan didn’t get into any trouble for this. Not only because did he not do this out of maliciousness, but he did the BEST thing by IMMEDIATELY coming to tell us. He didn’t shut down. He didn’t ingore the baby or try to cover up what he did. He didn’t try to quiet the baby to keep from gettting into trouble. He immediately ran to get me and Paul. The panic he felt at possibly hurting his brother completely overrode any fear of getting into trouble himself.

That’s HUGE.

Nathan’s only four, and that’s HUGE. This shows me that Nathan has empathy and places other’s needs above his own.

So Paul took Nathan into his room, sat him down, and explained why he can never, ever pick up the baby unless Mommy and Daddy are there to help. Nathan bawled his little eyes out and then came into the living room to hug his brother and tell him how sorry he was. It took me a while for my legs to quit shaking and for the blood to travel back to my head. That scared me half to death. Hearing my baby cry, not seeing him, and imagining something awful like a broken bone or blood everywhere.

This all happened a few days ago, and Nathan still talks about how he’s sorry he dropped his baby brother. He’s trying to make up for it by giving John lots of love. He’s even been carrying John to bed- with my help, of course. I walk behind Nathan with my hands under John’s arms while Nathan holds the baby close to his chest.

I’m sure that in the forseeable future, there will be many more episodes of one of the boys getting hurt by the other. The life of brothers!

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