Yes, it is!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bullying

Bullying is something that I don't tolerate.  At. All.  Especially when my children are involved, whether they are the victim or the perpetrator.  I've had several talks with Jackie about bullying, mostly because she became a victim of bullying early on.  

Being a parent, especially to children who have special needs, has brought me out of my comfort zone.  I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing.  I just hope that I don't embarrass my children too terribly.  I just want the best for my children.  And I don't want them to endure the pain of bullying that I experienced. 

So yesterday, as I always do, I looked through Jackie's take-home folder from school.  I noticed a note from one of Jackie's classmates.  When I asked Jackie about it, she told me that this girl always calls her slow.  I understand that Jackie can be slow-moving sometimes but why does she say that Jackie is nasty.  Jackie told me that Mrs. L (her teacher) made this girl write the note a couple of weeks ago.  And I'm just now finding out about it.  I am not a fan of note-writing and I'll explain in a moment.  Anyway, during my discussion with Jackie, she also informed me that this girl is not the worst one and that there is another student in her class who gives Jackie a hard time.  Apparently, he tries to get Jackie into trouble by telling the teacher that Jackie isn't doing her work or hasn't finished her work during class.  He calls her names, too.  He is not nice, at all, to Jackie.  From what I understand, both of these kids are troubled children who spend a lot of time in in-school suspension.  Why do they continue to bully my daughter?  Jackie seems to be easier target for them.  

So, the reason I am not a fan of writing apology notes is because I really feel that most of the time, it is not done sincerely. I do, however, think a face-to-face apology is fine (even if not done sincerely) because it forces the perpetrator to face their victim.  I also think taking privileges away (such as recess time or not being permitted to participate in any other fun activity with everyone else) is okay.  

I also feel that the parents of these children should be made aware of what their children are doing.  Perhaps their parents don't care but at least, they are being made aware that there is room for improvement for their children.  If the problem continues, then I feel that a meeting with all the involved parents should be arranged.  I don't appreciate that I didn't know what was going on with my daughter inside her classroom.  Apparently, this stuff has been going on for awhile since school started.  Jackie has another great teacher this year.  Mrs. L has been very good about communicating with me on other matters.  I will be emailing her to get her side of the story about this latest situation.  I realize that I won't be able to protect my daughter from every bully out there but I am determined to put a stop to these episodes as quickly as I can.  I am determined to do my part to put a stop to bullying altogether.  

When I saw the apology note, I couldn't help but be reminded of Jackie's first week of Kindergarten.  Twice within her first week of school, two different kids bullied my daughter.  Those kids not only verbally assaulted my daughter, they also physically assaulted her.  The reason?  Because she was too slow.  The first time, the kids were in line in the very long hallway to walk to the cafeteria.  The school is a very long building and the cafeteria was a very long walk from the classroom with a couple of short flights of stairs between.  The second time occurred on the playground during recess when Jackie wasn't moving quickly enough up the stairs to the slide.  After this 2nd incident, I emailed Jackie's teacher and thankfully, that teacher was on top of taking care of it, even to the point of bringing in the school's social worker to talk to the class about the differences some of us were born with.  I was very thankful for both the teacher and the social worker for taking me seriously and attending to the matter quickly.  After the social worker's presentation, one of Jackie's perpetrators went to Jackie and apologized on his own accord.  He was clearly touched by the social worker's presentation.  This was in Kindergarten!  

I do have to say that Jackie's teachers have shown a great deal of interest and have had compassion toward Jackie.  They have made her feel safe.  I hope this continues.  Because I don't want to homeschool my kids.  Homeschooling is great but it's just not for us right now. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

October Baby

My blog is my therapy.  I'm so thankful for it because when I am affected in such an emotional way, as I was tonight, it is a therapeutic exercise for me.  And even though I am typically a private person by nature, I don't mind sharing this blog because through this, I have met many others who are like me and with whom I can relate.  It is cathartic to write as talking about some things are more difficult than writing about it. Writing is my "safe" place.

So, I went to see this movie tonight, not really knowing much about it except that I thought it was just another cheesy, feel good family movie.  I took Jackie with me with the intent of having mother-daughter time with her after me being gone since very early this morning, at an all day seminar and subsequent testing.  I knew the movie had something to do with a very controversial topic, abortion, but still, I had no idea just how deep this movie is.  Within 5 minutes of the movie, I was shaking trying to control the tears that were trying so desperately to flow.  I didn't want to upset Jackie.  It was a very painful reminder of where I once was.   I wanted to get up and walk out but I was afraid of causing a scene.  I asked the person next to me if the movie was going to be like that throughout the movie.  She reassured me that it would get better.  I hoped so. There were so many parallels to my own life in that movie.  Proceed with caution.

I don't want to give too many details of the movie in case any of my readers are still waiting to watch it.  I will share, however, that the movie also touches on the topic of suicide, depression, feelings of worthlessness, right away at the beginning of the movie.  Abortion is not the immediate topic.  

The movie brought back pain of the memory of being told years ago that if abortion was legal back when I was conceived, I would not be here.  Mother didn't mean malice by it.  I think it was her way of trying to make me (and herself) feel better about the situation in which I was born into.  And to top it off, my grandmother even told me that she would have supported Mother's decision to abort me.  They also had the "support of" a close family friend who suggested that Mother abort me.  For some reason, it never really bothered me that Mother shared her part with me.  But to hear my grandmother tell me, it did sort of bother me. Even so, I loved my grandmother and I will always be grateful for her determination to keep Mother and me off of the welfare rolls until Mother married my stepfather, who eventually adopted me.  

Even though my stepdad adopted me, it was not a rosy picture of unconditional love.  Even though I have forgiven my dad and we have a good relationship now, I don't think the memories of always being reminded that I was not his will ever go away.  I felt so unloved, unwanted, worthless for most of my childhood.  I felt a profound sense of rejection, not only by my parents, but by my peers at school.  Even at church, I never really felt like anybody truly cared about me.  I was just a throwaway kid. I never could measure up to my parents' son (biological to both parents).  Even though I never gave my parents reason to think that I was going to go out and have illegitimate children and live on welfare, that is what my dad expected of me.  I was determined to prove him wrong.  I knew my only ticket out of that hell was to get that high school diploma, get a job, and get out as soon as possible.  Most of my life has been spent proving people wrong. Oh, speaking of my never measuring up to my parents' son, guess who got the last laugh. Ha!  That will have to be for another post for another day.  

The movie also brought up the topic of not knowing where one came from and not knowing one belongs in this world.  I've struggled with that most of my life.  I have always experienced a sense of loss, especially because I have no idea of who my paternal family is.  I know nothing about my biological father.  Mother has refused to tell me anything other than a possible name.  I've always wondered if I have a long-desired sister.  Do I have another grandmother and grandfather?  I've often wondered if my biological father would have been that loving dad that I so desperately wanted as a little girl.  I never felt like I belonged anywhere.  At school, at home, at church, with relatives, nowhere.  I felt like the black sheep because I knew I was different.  I still wonder where my place is in this world but then my children bring me back to reality and make me realize that my place for now is to try and be the best mother I can possibly be to my children, as challenging as they make that happen. 

I know my descent into depression and anxiety was partly due to the anger I harbored toward so many people and partly due to the rejection, lack of love, and abuse that I experienced for far too long.  I admit that I have sabotaged relationships in the past because of my moodiness and attitude. I had suicidal ideas and at one point, actually became suicidal.  However, throughout all of that, I learned who my true friends are because those friends are the ones who stuck with me through thick and thin. They didn't give up on me.  I am so grateful for those friends and I especially miss my close friends in Florida.  Thank God for Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, I have written about this before and I'm going to say it again.  I have had the privilege (yes,  privilege) to become friends with a handful of my childhood bullies thanks to Facebook.  These are people who looked me up for the main reason of wanting to apologize for the way I was treated by them. I'm grateful for these newfound friends.  In fact, one of my worst bullies has become very special to me as she has been one of my biggest encouragers.  (You know who you are).  

Now on the topic of abortion, that is a tough one for so many.  Personally, I don't support it.  However, I have a new perspective on aborting a crisis pregnancy as I found myself with an undesired pregnancy.  I had enough stress at the time dealing with 2 children with special needs.  How was I going to deal with a 3rd baby when I already felt like a single parent at that time?  I was truly in a crisis and the first thought before Tim would find out was to "get rid of it."  I was not thinking rationally.  I was in panic mode.  Regrettably, I shared my fears with an online Bible study group (never really was a Bible study and thankfully no longer part of it) that I was a part of at the time.  A couple of the gals were great, though, as they really seemed to be by my "side" as I struggled to break the news to Tim.  Another friend was by my side, too, in the physical sense, thankfully.  Unfortunately, just as I was finally starting to feel a little excitement about adding another baby to our family, I miscarried.  My world fell apart even more. I often experienced guilt over that because of the initial rejection of the life that was within me.  Thankfully, my marriage is heading in the right direction again and I still have hope that one day we will adopt a toddler or preschooler.  When I was much younger, I never had a desire to actually have children of my own but my heart's desire was to adopt a child who was considered less adoptable than a healthy, white baby.  I knew what it was like to not know where I came from and not feel wanted.  I just wanted to provide an unwanted (except by me) child some love and a safe home. Only time will tell if that dream becomes reality.  It's in God's hands now.

Even though this movie touched heavily on the topic of abortion, it also included a message of forgiveness.  I have forgiven my parents. I have forgiven the bullies from my past. (Well, most of them).  I think I am fairly forgiving person and am determined to continue to be so.  The most difficult thing for me to forgive, though, is... me.  I still need lots of work on that area. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hoarding?

Oh joy, my daughter just can't seem to part with anything. Broken toys, useless underwear, food wrappers. You name it, I'm sure you might just find a piece of it in my daughter's room.
A few months ago, I wrote this where I mentioned this:
Yes friends, that is the same wrapper that I thought I had buried in the trash back in May.  The exact same one!! The one that was buried months ago.  Now how did that end up back in Jackie's room?!  Gah! I spent 5 hours in Jackie's bedroom pit last night trying to clean and reorganize.  I had noticed some small items that had fallen behind her dresser.  However, I did NOT expect to find that darn Rice Krispy treat wrapper that Jackie had apparent grand plans for.
I have watched those Hoarding shows on TLC but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have to deal with it in my own immediate family.  Now, I admit that I have stuff packed in boxes in our basement but it's mostly sentimental stuff and stuff that I'm waiting to use in our next home (whenever that may be).  I do not save food wrappers and broken pieces of plastic.
I emptied Jackie's room completely of everything with the exception of her large dresser.  Jackie either has a potential problem with hoarding or she's just too darn lazy.  Or better yet, perhaps she has a food hoarding problem.  I found all sorts of food wrappers in the abyss of her closet.  Just last week, while I was going through the drawers at the base of her bed in preparation for moving it out of her room, I found an old corn on the cob, wrapped in a paper towel.  Actually, I'm not quite certain who put that there as Ben has a tendency to hide food that he doesn't want to eat.
A couple of weeks ago, I told Jackie to throw a pair of her underwear away as they were coming apart at the waistband.  After balking at my request, I watched as Jackie obliged. A few days later, while I was putting clean laundry away, I noticed those underwear that I thought were thrown away.  I just rolled my eyes.  That stinker of mine had sneakily put those tattered pants into the dirty laundry to be washed.
Last week, as I was helping Jackie straighten up her room, I noticed one of the pairs of underwear on her dresser looked very much like mine.  I'm not sure how they ended up there.  Well, as I asked Jackie how my underwear got into her room, I noticed that the waistband was starting to break apart so I asked Jackie to throw them away in the bathroom trash.  She obliged.  Or so, I though.  As I was taking apart the bed last week in Jackie's room, I took out another drawer and what do I see?  Yep, you got it.  Those darn underwear.  Why does Jackie have such an attachment to useless underwear?  I grabbed them and immediately buried them in the trash. 
The other night, as Jackie was getting ready to shower, I noticed that the underwear Jackie had on were starting to fall apart. Like, coming apart at the seams in the crotch area.  For me, it's a given that those type of garments have obviously earned their rightful place in the trash can.  So, as Jackie started to undress, I told her to throw the underwear away.  (I should have learned my lesson by now as this is the 3rd pair of tossed underwear in just a couple of weeks).  In true Jackie fashion, she asked me why. I told her they were falling apart and therefore she will not be wearing them any longer.  Then I left the bathroom as Jackie got into the shower.
So, last night, as I was cleaning Jackie's pit of a room, I went to put some of her hair stuff away and as I reached into the cabinet under the bathroom sink,  and what do I see?!?  Ugh.  Again.  Those freakin' underwear that I told her to throw away the other night.  I just had to roll my eyes.  Again.  The rice krispy treat wrapper, old corn on the cob, useless underwear, among others.    Lord help me!