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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teacher Response to the Bullying Incident

My daughter's teacher responded to me very quickly. That made me feel much better. Open communication between parents and teachers is so important. She was not aware of the incident but would ask B about it after lunch. She and B spoke in the hallway and B said that some boys had teased her but at first couldn't remember which ones. To me that sounded odd, but I thought about it and she really doesn't know all the boys names in the class yet and does mix up a few of them.

Finally they narrowed down who they might be and all involved went into the hall to talk it out. My daughter's teacher handled it very well. It wan't blown out of proportion and B felt so much better because something was being done. Her teacher told me that she would keep an eye on the boys interactions with B and also would meet with the bus aid to make sure nothing happens on the bus.

When I was in elementary school I don't think this would have been handled as seriously. It is so easy to say boys will be boys or that they are only in first grade and don't know any better. It is our job as adults, parents and teachers to make sure they know better. Until we all work together to teach our children tolerance and positive behavior bullying will be an issue. Unfortunately there are some adults, parents and teachers who don't believe they should do this or don't take it seriously.

Last year I had an ethics debate with another adult. I mentioned in the debate that I hope when I am a teacher I can teach the students to be more tolerant than he was. He was adamantly putting down other religious groups, one that he did not believe in, ones that he felt needed to be suppressed. He responded that it wasn't a teacher role to teach students morals. I firmly believe that he and anyone else who believes that is wrong. Parents of course have the primary responsibility to teach their children ethics and morals, but it also need to be reinforced in school, taught by the teachers and shown by example from adults in general. If we don't do that we have failed our children and allow bullying to continue.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

She Stood Up to Her Bullies

Every night before my children go to bed we talk about their day. There are three basic questions that I ask and the conversation can go anywhere from there. "What did you like about today?" "What didn't you like about your day?" "Is there anything you want to talk to me about, anything that makes you happy, mad, sad or glad?" Today my daughter who is in first grade told me about some boys in her class who told her that she wasn't pretty.

She is in first grade! How dare they try to put my daughter down! Luckily I do talk with my children about what to do if they are bullied. She told her teacher and they were given consequences. But they continued to tease her on the bus. My daughter did the right thing and told the bus monitor and they were moved. Then tonight she told me and I did the right thing and emailed her teacher about the incidents.

The other day we watched an episode of "Little Bill" it is a tv show/cartoon written by Bill Cosby. We enjoy it and it does handle many issues children can and will run into at school. The episode we watched had a short entitled "The Meanest Thing to Say". It wasn't bullying exactly but it was close and I tied it into her incident at school.

The Meanest Thing To Say: Little Bill and his friends are playing a game portraying pirates when their teacher, Miss Murray, introduces a new student, Michael, who has moved to New York from Florida. During recess, Little Bill and the others try to include Michael in their basketball game, but Michael is more interested in playing a "ranking" game, where people are supposed to say hurtful things to one another. Although the children say they refuse to participate, Michael doesn't listen and starts saying mean things to Little Bill, who stays silent. Michael threatens that he'll just keep saying insults if Little Bill doesn't "play" the game tomorrow, so Little Bill attemps to practice making up mean things to say by pretending to be a pirate. April overhears her brother acting out of character and tells their parents; when Big Bill learns of Michael's games, he explains how "ranking" used to be a popular game when he was a boy, too, and that he always won his matches by countering his opponent's insults by stating "So?" because what they said wasn't true. Big Bill proves this by asking Little Bill what Michael called him at school, and asking if what he said is true. Little Bill knows the remarks are false, so the next day he tries his father's tactics and gets Michael to understand that nobody wants to hurt each other, and that the game is wrong. Michael realizes he was trying too hard to make new friends, and acted mean out of fear.

I told her that she knows she is pretty, and she really is, so she should be like Little Bill, tell them "So!" along with what she already did. She stood up to her bullies, I am so proud of her.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bullies in My Life

Last week a tragedy occurred. A child ended his life because of bullies. Jamie Rodemeyer was only 14 years old. He recored a YouTube video as part of the "It Gets Better Project" aimed at reassuring gay youths that life improved once high school was finished. Sadly for him it wasn't getting any better.

I know how he felt, I was bullied in elementary school and junior high. Not because of my sexuality though, it was because I was different. I was unsure of myself and awkward. I was a geek or a nerd. I was the picked on kid. By the time I was in my last year of junior high it was bad. I had one friend, and I am proud to say we are still friends today. I don't have many good memories of those years. My homework was stolen, I was tripped in the hall, students spit in my hair, and I was often made fun of. It wears at you and drags you down.

Add to that my problems at home. I was a teenager and my father and I were often at each others throats. Today looking back I can recognize the emotional abuse, he was mean and often called me horrible names. He was very similar to my husband today. I gravitated right to someone who had a similar personality. I don't think I was happy very often back then.

Honestly it occurred to me. The thought of if I die the hurt will go away. I didn't go there, I can't even tell you why. Why does one person have the thought and commit suicide and another doesn't? Why? I know how much the rejection of your peers can haunt you for years. It was bad enough that I did take action. Nothing exciting, in fact it was just a simple question. But with that question I took my stand and started to climb out of the pit I was in. I needed a new start, I asked my parents if I could go to a Catholic high school. I don't think I ever told them why.

I did try to talk to adults about it. I talked to my fifth grade teacher, and she tried to help me. It didn't help, maybe because decades ago it wasn't viewed as the problem it is today. I tried again in junior high and again it didn't help. But in high school I found a support structure to help me and give me some hope.

It was the friars. They helped me climb out of my shell. They knew I had closed myself off from others. They didn't know why at first. Combining that with a new group of peers who I didn't trust, but they didn't know me and didn't bully me. I started to get to know some of them and actually made some friends.

The friars allowed me to open up to them when I was ready and they helped me understand that I wasn't useless and I wasn't nobody. They helped me grow and find my voice. They helped me trust people again. All it takes sometimes is someone who allows you to be you and before you know it you are out of that pit and start filling in the hole to stay out of it.

Of course I found another bully and sadly I married him. Now I am filling in that hole again. I am hard wired to find people like that I think because that is how I grew up. I worry about my children, I don't want them to fall into the same pattern. School now is different. There is such a large network to stop bullies and a safety net for those who might get bullied. Still bullying happens and children are killing themselves because of it. I will do all I can to stop it and I hope you will too.

What would my life have been like if I wasn't bullied? I won't dwell on it, but still I wonder. Now I am aware of that glitch in my brain and I will do all I can to keep it from happening again. No more bullies in my life.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


It is official, I have no more access to the money. But he still expects me to do all the housework. He sits there and lets a mess grow, not asking the kids to put anything away. Then off he goes to work. To the world off grownups, where he can have adult conversation and not have to continuously clean faces or wash dishes.

I'mm not allowed to shop, which is my only escape into the world of grownups. If I spend money on food I am accused of stealing. If I make a decision on a meal choice I am questioned. He keeps trying to get me to believe that I am worthless.

His family is behind him according to him. Honestly I have no desire to find out if that is true or not. They haven't once tried to contact me since I discovered he was cheating on me. Oh, I almost forgot one cousin of his did contact me to find out what he was going to eat at their wedding. Sixteen years have gone by since I encountered him and his family. Sixteen years that I let my guard down around them. Sixteen lost years now. We are reduced to likes on facebook and one word updates. Just like my conversations with him. Awkward!!!

I know I am not worthless, it is just so hard to be around someone who wants you to feel that way. I don't want the kids to start thinking that too. I don't think that is going to happen. Even the kids notice how he is awful towards me and they try so hard to make me feel better. At the same time I try to keep his nastiness away from them. If only he would put effort into that as well.

They don't respect him, he doesn't follow through with discipline. He tells them to do something and they ignore him. I would love to just let him fail, but I can't. So I try to get them to listen to him. I try to get them to respect him. I try to keep them out of the middle.

They are not stupid though. They know that Daddy is mean to Mommy, they have seen me pushed into a wall and spit at. They have heard the horrible things he calls me. They take it in and ask questions. Mommy, why is Daddy taking all the money away from you? Why is Daddy so mean? Why? Why? Why? I don't know how to answer them. I have always told them the truth about the world. We talk about terrorism, we talk about drugs, sex, and anything else they want to know. But I can't answer these questions.

So my world is awkward now, I talk to children more than grownups, I have no money, I can't tell my children what is happening and I can't find a job. AWKWARD!!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Once Upon a Time There Was Communication

I knew it was too good to be true. I was "allowed" to go grocery shopping tonight with the kids. We all went to my daughter B's school open house. Daddy had to leave right from there to work so we took both cars. Since we didn't have snacks for bedtime or for school this week I casually mentioned that I would take them to the store to buy snacks and maybe one meal for the week. What was I thinking, no good could come from me spending money. I should have known better, especially after the way he woke me up yesterday.

I bought the kids snacks, nutritious snacks, not the garbage that he would have bought. I looked at the nutrition labels and bought snacks that could double for a quick breakfast (breakfast fiber bars). I bought the ingredients for my chicken fajitas that we all like to eat. It is a nice healthy vegetable rich meal. Finally I have found a way to make it so the kids enjoy it. I didn't buy anything unnecessary, it was all food we actually needed.

He called to say good night to the kids, this time before they went to bed, and I told him I bought snacks, breakfasts and the ingredients for the fajitas. No surprises. He took a deep breath and told me okay, He didn't ask how much I spent, I figured since he goes grocery shopping more than I that he knew how much food costs.

Well, apparently once again I was reckless. I had no right to use the money. It was supposed to be used for the new car that he has been trying to buy for three years now. His mom loaned us the money for that purpose and we always pay her back at tax time. No worries, we have been doing this for years. If we need to make a large purchase in the past she fronts us the money if we don't have it and we have always been able to pay it back.

To be fair, without this money in the account there would have been times that we didn't have the money to grocery shop or buy gas. There have been times that both of us have dipped into the car fund. The difference is that when he does it it is not an issue. When I do it I am stealing. Never mind my name is on the account and I do all I can to replace it from returning bottles to selling things of mine.

In the past food has always been priority. If we had money that could either be spent on food or anything else food won. B's lunch is at 11:15 in the morning, she needs a snack in the afternoon. Same for P, his lunch is close to 1:00 in the afternoon. The bus picks him up at 8:00 in the morning that is a long time between breakfast and lunch. As a teacher I have seen the difference between children who have a snack and those who don't. Snack helps them get through the day. So I bought them snacks for school. I told him I was going to do it, I told him I did it.

Surprise, it was a little after 6:00 this morning and up the stairs he comes. I spent too much money, I should have known the money in his pocket was all the money we had left for the week. Now if the money was in his pocket why didn't it occur to him to give it to me to shop with? He also neglected to tell me a dollar amount to stay under. So I used my judgement and was wrong.

Honestly if he could just communicate with me so many of these arguments would not happen. So many of our fights are because he is mad that I did something that he didn't tell me would bother him. When we first dated he would tell me that he wasn't Kreskin, so I would have to tell him all the information he needed. He couldn't read my mind and this would help us not to misunderstand each other. Brilliant, if only he would follow his own advice now.

We had an argument last week where he screamed at me that he was having trouble at work and I had no idea what it was like. He was right because he never talked to me about it. We don't talk about anything. I try, I start conversations to only have him grunt responses or maybe get a one word answer from him. Other times he just replies not paying any attention to what I am saying. It wasn't always like this. Once upon a time we would talk to each other for hours.

Oh but when he doesn't like what I am doing he will have no trouble communicating, right in front of the kids he will tell me all the horrible things I have done in his mind. Of course this morning was no exception. B woke up super early, hours before she was supposed to. Oh how I wish you could just tell a child to sleep and they would. Since she was awake so was I. Bad things happen when a six year old is unsupervised and going bump in the night. Another night of me being up all night.

Now I don't have a job yet, I clean the house after the kids go to sleep - apart from random picking up of things during the day. Once the kids go to school if I was up all night I go to sleep until they come home from school. No harm is being done. I am not supposed to be doing anything else. If I have something I need to do even if I am tired I do it. When I student taught if I didn't sleep the night before I went to work and managed to get through my day. So yesterday and probably today I will sleep through part of the day.

As he is yelling at me it turns from my being reckless because I bought food for the week to how horrible I am because I sleep during the day and night. I wish! There have been time I have I am not going to deny it. Usually I was sick. Those days he remembers and throws at me when he is mad at me. My psychologist says one reason why I do sleep more than I should is to escape. I hide in my dreams. Since we discussed it I have made a point to be more awake. But when I haven't slept all night and I have been pulling 24 hour mommy duty, don't tell me that I have no right to sleep when it isn't hurting anyone.

So he is yelling at me telling me how I am reckless with money and he was going to put all his money in a separate account, which will keep me finally from having access to money. No more shopping for me. Now B is upset, she is next to me during this whole rant. She doesn't want daddy to shop for food because he picks out food she doesn't like. He doesn't remember to buy snacks, and then she cries.

Two early mornings in a row he has made her cry by screaming at me for spending money. Two days in a row that communication between us would have helped. Two mornings that I tried to get him to talk instead of screaming and berating me. I know he won't change, I have to be the one who does. The more I do that in his mind is wrong the further he gets from me. Sadly because our communication is missing I have no idea what his expectations are until it is too late.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seven Dollars

It is 6:25 am, I was just woken up by a tyrant. My husband has once again called me reckless for spending just $7.00 this weekend. Yes I admit it. I spent $7.00 dollars maybe $8.00 on myself this weekend. It absolutely enrages him. He again is telling me that he is going to change banks and not give me access to any money. He tells me that I am reckless and worthless. What is worse is that he woke up our daughter tonight. She was crying and he didn't care.

He says that he is going to tell his mother on me. Seriously! What a way to wake up. I rolled over to ignore him as he stood in the doorway and glared at me. I kept expecting to hit by things he was going to throw at me, he did throw one thing at me, but I don't know what it was, it missed. I was prepared to be hit, he was that mad.

Then just went I thought he was gone he walked up to the bed and whispered in my ear "You worthless fat cow, I hope you get run over by a bus!"

So now I am awake and in tears. my daughter is back asleep. I wonder if I will be able to get a few more hours of sleep? I have been having a bad reaction to my depression meds this weekend. I have been dizzy whenever I move. It happens when I forget to take them. I was hoping sleep would help with the recovery. I guess I will just hide upstairs today and hope to stay away from his wrath. Luckily once the kids go to school he will be asleep and I can have a few hours of peace.

All this over $7.00, hopefully this week I will get a job so I can spend $7.00 and not worry about being waken up by a verbal assault. I wonder how much money he spent this weekend?

I Miss the Intimacy

The hardest part of my marriage being over is that there is no romance. There are no hugs or kisses no not even any real touching. Before we dated I didn't miss it probably because you can't miss what you don't have. I would date but not that often. I didn't open myself up to others on an intimate level very often maybe that is why I never missed it when it was gone. This time it is different because I had it for such a long time and now it is gone.

I stayed true to my vows. I never even considered looking outside of my marriage for what was missing. I asked him for more romance, I told him that it was missing and we had to learn how to reconnect on a physical level. Instead of trying to repair us he went elsewhere. Now I am alone even if we still live in the same house. The connection we had is gone and I accept that even if I miss it at the same time.

The only interaction we have now is more on the negative end of the spectrum. Either that of we avoid each other for hours or days at a time. It isn't good for me, him or the kids. Funny how even after I know our marriage is over I still can't hate him. I still try to do nice things for him. I still see things in while shopping that I know he will like and make a not of them for Christmas or his birthday. I know that he will be a part of my life always and I still want to make that as nice as possible.

Tonight he called an hour after the kids went to bed to say goodnight to them. When I told him I wasn't going to call them to the phone he hung up on me. That is how he deals with me now. No more kisses, touches or intimacy. The most interaction we have is negative. I still can't afford to leave. I am not going to look for any intimacy elsewhere until we are divorced. I am not going to be like him!

So I am lonely and craving the touch of another. Luckily I still have my dreams. At least through them I find some connection, even if it is not real.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to School

For many parents this is the most wonderful time of the year. After a summer of fun tears often fill children's eye as that fateful day draws near. But for some parents the first day of school is filled with worry. That is how it has been for me for the past three years. It wasn't always like this. The two years before my son was diagnosed with Aspergers I too loved the first day of school.

Okay to be honest I still love it, after a full summer of two children and a marriage falling apart, sending the kids off to school is wonderful. It is the newness and unknown that worries me. This year it is a grade higher and a new school. Add to that two elementary schools have combined so his class has students in it that he doesn't know.

Tonight I realize that I forgot the worst part of back to school for us. P takes adderall so he can focus in school. It helps him to resist the urge to poke another student in the forehead, yes that is something he tends to do. Unfortunately one of the side effects is insomnia. After a couple weeks his body adjusts to it and he finally will go to sleep at a reasonable hour. But until then he will be rattling around trying to come up with new ways to get out of his room at night. At the same time I have to remember that it is the meds doing this to him, so I take deep breaths and remind myself that I love him. I can hear him playing in his room. It amazes me that he still hasn't realized that sound travels. He is always surprised when I find him in the middle of his mischief.

Then there are the back to school tears and mood swings that he gets. There are so many new unfamiliar things for him to deal with that he can't handle it all. There is a lot of new input that he has to deal with. The problem is that his brain doesn't have the pathways or doesn't provide him with the information he needs to handle it all. Every night he has been in tears and anything can set him off. It is amazing how quickly he can shift form happy to sad to mad.

At the same time I can't ignore my daughter. She also is off to school again and some of her best friends are not in her class. Like with P I do not know her teacher, this is the first year that I know nothing about both my children's teachers. Her teacher also is not utilizing a faculty webpage and I have not gotten any real information from her. Add to that there is a new principal at my daughter's school, that was a huge surprise to everyone. This year I am out of my parental comfort zone with both schools. At least I know who the principal is in my son's school. I think if he left I might have lost it.

I haven't had a job interview in a while and am going stir crazy. My worse half still flips out with little to no provocation. With him and P both on the edge mentally this week has been a horrible roller coaster ride. I try to around enough to make sure P is okay, but at same time I need to stay out of D's crosshairs so I don't snap. A simple misunderstanding between us can blow up into a huge battle.

Now if P will go to sleep then I can too. Back to school is a wonderful time of year, right?