Work with me, please.

Archive for December, 2012

Fade to Black

watching fireworks

As 2012 fades to black, I think back on how blessed we have been this year and in previous years. Life hasn’t been perfect or stress-free. All-in-all, though, it’s been darn good.

I had a glorious time in SC with my immediate and extended families during our short winter vacation. We had a Christmas party on the Saturday before the holiday. The food was good, the games were fun, and spirits were high. One of the things I love most about my big (my mother is one of eleven), crazy family is that we manage to consistently have a genuinely good time, without the drama that is typically associated with big gatherings and without the help of alcohol (LOL).

Mae and Jay got to see all of their first cousins. They played well together, and I’m especially proud of Mae. I think she managed to avoid falling out with her big cousin, who is just 9 months older, even once. Usually, Mae whines or has a meltdown about not being able to play with her cousin’s things or something along those lines. No meltdowns at all on the trip. Growth is a beautiful thing, and she’s been doing plenty of it physically and otherwise.  Lately, she’s been asking questions on topics like periods and the N-word.  She’s becoming less and less of a “little girl,” a term she now detests.

Last week, Mae told me that she wonders if she should tell her friends that she has Asperger’s.  She said, “I don’t know what they’ll think of me.”  I told Mae that she can tell her friends if she feels comfortable, and that it’s more important to focus on what she wants her friends to understand about her and show them who she is without using a label.  I told her that the doctor said she’s barely on the spectrum, so Asperger’s may not be the best way to explain who she is.   Her question is an interesting question given recent media coverage of Asperger’s in relation to the Newtown tragedy.  Mae is aware of the tragedy because her school principal made an announcement the next school day.  She’s unaware of the media coverage and how some have attributed the shooter’s behavior to Asperger’s.  We’re not much of a news-watching household, and that’s a good thing.

After we returned home from SC, we buckled down to Mae’s homework.  She actually completed some of it while we were in SC, bless her heart, with little resistance. She has had so much homework over the past few weeks, more than I could have ever imagined for a 3rd grader.  We spent hours each day last Thursday through Sunday working on a book about the planets. There is a required 15-page minimum with limited use of illustrations, which Mae had to create herself. (Thank you, Microsoft, for Insert>Shapes.)

Last night, as Mae put the finishing touches on the book,  she told me that she enjoyed working on it, that she had looked forward to it.  She’s really had a good attitude about this homework business.  Hubby and I have been the ones grumbling for weeks.  I’ve been trying to think of a way to complain to the school, but I don’t know if it’s me or them that’s being unreasonable.  I wanted an accelerated and advanced curriculum, so maybe I should keep my mouth shut. What I didn’t know was that we’d be trading loads of personal time and family time, weekends and holidays included.

Mae worked so hard on her planets book and still needs to make progress on her science fair project, so much so that I can’t even bring myself to ask her to write thank-you notes for Christmas gifts.  That’s normally one of our projects over the winter break.  I may saddle Jay with writing for both of them, if I can get him to be still long enough. He has been a ball of energy, literally running in circles around the house, for no apparent reason.  He’ll go round and round the kitchen table.  He’s in constant motion, still at five and a half.  I don’t remember his sister being this way.

Yesterday, I surprised him when I told him that I like candy cereal too, but I don’t eat it.   He said, slowly, “That’s strange.”  Then, he added, “If you like something, you should just eat it.”  Oh, my dear boy, I have fillings in the double digits and a pouch to prove that I have done plenty of that.

I’ve got to work on my “just eat it” problem in 2013.  I’m not big on resolutions, but I do need to create a new exercise plan and cut back on sugar.  This year was not good for me in terms of healthy living.  I tried to eat healthy (though the green smoothie project didn’t work for me; I decided that eating should involve chewing.  I like chewing.) and exercise (I quit yoga after one session because one full hour of yoga is just too much).  I got off track, mostly due to exhaustion in the evenings from hard, long days at the job I started in March, and then curtailing weeknight gym visits to help with homework in the evenings.  On too many evenings, I ate salty or sweet snacks for dinner instead of a proper meal.

Despite exercising less and eating more than I should have, I’m ending 2012 with a pat on the back for myself.  I’ve already ordered our photo album for 2012, a year’s worth of pictures bound in a hard cover book.   It’s an annual project that I sometimes don’t get to until the spring.  And, I’ve ordered our Happy New Year photo cards to send to family and friends.  I think our 2012 cards went out in February last year.  I feel like I was more organized in 2012.  Also, I spent more time with the kids, making more of an effort to do fun stuff on the weekends whenever we could.  House and yardwork suffered, but I have no regrets about that.

So, I’m good.  We’re good.  2013 will be good.

Advertisements

Broken

20121215-195304.jpg I’m generally an optimistic person. I have a great deal of faith in people and the Universe. I keep a copy of Desiderata posted near my desk and I’ve had periods when I’ve read it daily or several times daily. There is a line that I particularly like, and I go to it when I’m trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense — “And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” I don’t need to understand why, I just need to believe that and that things will right themselves, things will balance out in the end, karma will take hold, it’ll all make sense sooner or later.

Then this. Newtown happened.

I’m left to believe that there are exceptions. There is a glitch (Thanks, Wreck-it Ralph).

I get accidents and natural disasters. Horrific but bound to happen. I get fights and wars. I don’t like them, but I understand snap decisions, poor judgment, ego trips, primal behavior, innocent bystanders, unintended consequences. Tragic byproducts of life.

What I don’t get is when an individual makes a series of decisions that lead him to go looking for harmless, innocent babies to murder.

Mental illness won’t do as an explanation for this, not for me. But, let’s go with that for a minute. Is there any amount of therapy or medication, any type of intervention, that could have prevented this? Is there any amount of parental love and support or prayer? Right now, I’m doubtful.

I’m inclined to believe that there are broken people among us. Irrecoverably broken ones that slipped into the Universe. Ones that are not supposed to be here. I’m sorry. On some level, I think “He was someone’s son, brother, friend. He must have at some time brought joy and happiness to some one.” I don’t care. That could not possibly outweigh the sadness and horror he has left behind.

I wish peace for the survivors, including those in the shooters family. May they remember, “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

Swayed by Feng Shui

20121202-203220.jpg

Mae came to me this evening with her National Geographic Kids Almanac 2013 in hand, all serious, as usual. “Mom, mom. I need you to help me move the furniture around in my room.”

My first thought, probably before she finished speaking was, “No.”

I asked “Why?”

Mae showed me the page she was reading.  Across the top:  “How to Feng Shui Your Room.”  I asked why she wanted to Feng Shui her room.  Mae pointed to and read aloud the opening words of the article, “Want to make more friends? Get better grades?”  She said, “Only 3 of my friends are in my class and I want 5.”

Alrighty then.  I told Mae that 3 is a good number of friends and I pointed out a disclaimer in tiny print in a box on the page: “If Feng Shui doesn’t work for you, that’s ok. This story is just for fun.”  I have to intently manage this one’s expectations.

Years ago, when I first heard of Feng Shui, I gave a “whatever” shrug and went on with my life.  But, I wanted to be open-minded and supportive.  So, while Mae took her shower, I started working on the 12 suggestions in the article.  It was simpler than I expected and we had most of the materials needed.

I took a mobile from the kids’ play room and hung it from Mae’s bedroom ceiling.  One of the kids’ aunties brought it for them from India.  Mae believes that “it’s magic,” and the magazine says that a mobile keeps positive chi moving.

I hung a jingle bell on each side of her door knob, which gives positive thoughts and inspire good luck and happiness.  Putting the bells to use helped me feel less guilty about having put them in the garage a few hours before.  The bells came with a holiday decoration kit that I tried to use as little as possible of when the kids and I dressed our little Christmas tree today.  They wanted to put on it every shiny bauble within reach.  I sneaked things back into the box when they weren’t looking because I swear there is a fine line between tasteful and tacky when it comes to Christmas decorations.

Mae has a bulletin board where some pictures of her and former classmates were pinned.  I added a picture of Jay and arranged the photos into a triangle.  This may help her get along better with family and friends.  Threes and triangles are important in Feng Shui.  I wonder if I should find a picture of me and Hubby and substitute it for one of the pictures of her friends?  From her perspective, Mae would probably say that the relationships with her friends are more important.  She had a tough day last Wednesday because she’d gotten into a pushing match with her friend-non-friend Gigi, a girl who seems to not like Mae and still insists on being around her.  It’s a strange relationship.  Even Mae said last week, “I kind of like not liking her.”  Go figure.

Fortunately, Mae’s bookcase is already to the left of her door (for better grades) and her bed is against her wall and gives her a clear view of her door (for better sleep).  So, we didn’t need to move any furniture after all.

I added two pillows to the one on Mae’s bed plus a stuffed monkey, the animal of her birth-year according to the Chinese zodiac.  These might bring more fun with friends and extra luck, respectively.  Mae has a cactus plant that I moved from the play room to the desk in her bedroom; which might bring more time with family and friends.

The article said that a quartz crystal on her desk can help with concentration, which Mae sure could use.  We don’t have a quartz crystal in the house, but my sister has one at her place.  I called her and she promised to bring it by tomorrow.

We don’t have a light green or purple bowl, which could help Mae save money if she puts a coin in a bowl as she leaves or enters her room.  And I’m going to risk not moving her bulletin board to the wall opposite her door, which could help generate positive thoughts as she enters the room.  We’ll take our chances on those two because they would require too much effort.

Mae handled the last item from the list on her own.  She drew a picture of something she wished for and placed it under her pillow to make the wish come true.  I fully expected her to hold up a drawing of, perhaps, her and a friend holding hands.  Instead, it was a picture of a book.  With Feng Shui written across the cover.  She wants a book on Feng Shui.

Dang it.  This is worse than Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy combined.  If I get the book it means Feng Shui works, or at least it says something about the power of positive thinking.  But then, she’ll come up with all kinds of new Feng Shui ideas and maybe even turn this whole house upside down.  Or, she might start putting slips of paper under her pillow every night for ever more ambitious stuff.

What now?

%d bloggers like this: