It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad world!

I must be bipolar.  It’s amazing (and scary) how you can fluctuate from such elation to such despair all in one afternoon.

But first, the elation. 

My amazing daughter has gone and won herself the 5th grade spelling bee at her school!! 

I know, isn’t it great?? <insert proud mother grin with tears in eyes here>

This, the child who was so nervous this morning she could not stomach a single bite of the scrumptious toaster strudel I so lovingly prepared for her.  She was having some major performance anxiety.  I informed her that all the same people who loved her before the spelling bee would still love her AFTER the spelling bee, even if she went out in the first round.  I know she is a great speller, she knows it and she doesn’t need a spelling bee to confirm it.  However, I’d like to say that it did.  I was a nervous wreck…I think I stopped breathing a couple of times.  She did get lucky on some words though…giggle, slippery, early, ancient and velvet.  Oh, sweet velvet, the winning word.  On to the district bee…more to come on that, I’m sure! 

So after the excitement of the spelling bee, (which was awesome because we had to call Daddy and the grandmas, of course!) it was time to pick up Jacob from school.  And here lies the despair.  He had a hard day and so got into the car with his normal “my day was horrible” speech.  He has even developed something called “The Horribleness Scale”…1 is unattainably perfect, 10 is worst day ever in the history of mankind.  If he says he’s had a 5, that’s a great day in Jacob lingo.  Today was a 7 (which is about average, I’d say) and it quickly went from bad to worse with the realization of mountains of homework and that his sister had horseback riding lessons (which he hates to go to) on top of that.  Suffice it to say, the meltdown wasn’t pretty.  And so it continued on a downward spiral of how much he hates himself and how stupid he is.  With me trying to console my son, all the while, silently cursing the public school system for sending my son’s self-esteem into the proverbial toilet.  Then it’s off to horseback riding lessons and while Emma is off riding Cody, the cute brown horsey, Jacob and I attempt to sit on the swing, watch the sheep as the sun is setting and have a calm chat…which quickly degraded into another meltdown when he heard some man in the distance yukking it up.  Laughter is evil in Jacob’s eyes, er, EARS, I should say.  He is even trying to stop himself from laughing now, because it is his opinion that he should not laugh if he hates it when others do it.  Convoluted thinking, I know.  Heartbreaking, really.  So, Jacob contorts and screams all the way to the car and I collapse in tears by the side of The Edge.  I  collect myself.  Fortunately, now it is dark and Jacob can’t see that I am upset and he’s had a moment to cool down too.  Next up, study vocabulary…which he hates with a purple passion.

I’d say we’ve come full circle–from one speller to the other.  

I know it’s life and nobody ever said life was fair and life has its ups and downs and every other cliche you can think of.  But sometimes I just want Jacob to have a day like Emma had today, where he feels proud.  Where he wins something.  Where he feels smart…because he is, he just doesn’t believe it.  But 8 hour school days full of frustration and 2 plus hours of homework nights doesn’t really go a long way toward getting that.  It leaves no room for anything in our lives other than schoolwork.  Two words: survival mode.  I feel like all I do is crack that whip…we’ve got to get this done.  Hurry up we’ve still got math to do.  Oh, heck, let me just do that part for you.

It’s a miserable existence.

It just seems wrong.  So, so wrong.

And so we are at a crossroads.  An educational crossroads.

I have one child who is a round peg.  A beautiful, creative, smart, wonderful, round peg.  She is the child for whom public school was created.  She is thriving there.  I have one child, as beautiful, creative, smart and wonderful as the other one, who is a square peg and who people are constantly trying to cram into that round hole day after day after day.  It gets painful after a while.  He is miserable, beyond miserable.  And I want to cry every day when I leave him at that school and I want to cry when I pick him up.  There has to be another way–A better way, for my son.  We are looking for alternatives.  We are praying and we’ll see what happens.    

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, “I’ll never homeschool.  It’s not for me.”  I’ve been thinking about it for some time now and I’m on a fact finding mission.  I’ve talked with people.  We are exploring possibilities.  I am seriously considering it.  It’s crazy, I know.  I think that whoever said, if you want to make God laugh, then tell Him your plans, was on to something.  

You know what else they say…

Never say never. 

Cause that kind of stuff always comes back around and bites you in the butt. 

Yes, yes it does.  I have the bite marks to prove it.



Filed under Autism Days, Kids

7 responses to “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad world!

  1. Pingback: Let’s hear it for Thursday! Day 8 | red van ramblings

  2. Wahzat

    Never say never…. wow that one has bitten me so many times that it makes me giggle when I slip and say it.Sigh I send you hugs and positive vibes to help you find the alternative. Now if you were in Jamaica you would probably send Jacob to a \’homeschool\’ type set up.Where it is an smaller class setup in someone\’s home. And you don\’t personally have to be the one homeschooling. One of my friends sends her daughter to one of those. do you have something like that you can turn to?Keeping you in my thoughts and praying that you can find the way to ease Jacob\’s pain and distress.And of course congrats to your Emma for winning her spelling bee How awesome!!

  3. Nooner™

    Dear Joell,
    Damn it!
    Life is so confusing.
    I came here with a slight joke in mind to write, yet find myself having read your blog before typing and my eyes are moistened.
    The slight joke — that doesn\’t really matter now — was to be in response to your comment — and just to say that I find it amazing how I kind of think you and I are "kindred spirits" and think alike in many ways.
    But on to more important things….
    Though thrilled for Emma and her rightfully proud parents at all she does in life, I\’m blue for Jacob, for how confusing life is for him, and for how challenged and confusing life is for you because of extraordinary challenges this poses for you and Hub.
    We all want the very best for our children. And we are challenged in our faith and our ability to understand "why us" when we have a loving child given to us that has a syndrome that is so hard for us to accept and work through. You want the best for Jacob. Everyone does. I\’m sure many who surround you in the community are hopeful for the best. I know I, as only just a far-away pen-pal of yours, prays quietly for peace and happiness for him and you.
    Joell, you are an extraordinary individual. Whether you know it or not, you are blessed with being a person better prepared to handle a family challenge than most. I can tell. As you know, I have a special someone in my life with a syndrome and one thing that gets me from one day to the next is knowing that "at least it is me who has this challenge — cause I know I have an ability to understand how to cope with this cross to bear".
    You stay well, Joell. I am glad to have come to know you through Spaces. Through just these written words I feel we are kindred spirits in some of our thinking, some of our comedy, and some of the challenges we both face to do the very best for family members in need of guidance and all the love we can bestow.

  4. Michelle

    I\’m so happy for Emma!!  Tell her, "you go girl!" from me.  That is so awesome!!
    Oh, my Jacob!  It\’s post like these that make me want to move over there and help him again.  Not that I have the answers to everything, but I remember those first two years when I was basically his own private teacher.  he struggled but finally got better.
    My heart pour out to him.
    Have you ever thought about homeschooling some class and taking him in for others?  Mason has a friend that is part homeschooled and part not.  the subjects he struggles with are done at home and the others at school.  Jacob might enjoy math and science at school and the writing at home. 
    Going through of the same stuff with Mason\’s school right now.  They are underestimating and under-challenging his ability.
    Keep your chin high!!  He is a most awesome kid, who is going to do mind blowing things in the world.  Whether he believes it or not.

  5. Toni

    Well, first of all, go Emma! That needs to be said.
    Second of all my heart just breaks for Jacob. I think looking into homeschooling is a wonderful idea! Think about it–you of all people have the best idea of what might work for him. You can make sure he\’s getting the attention he needs–he might actually thrive…and homeschooled kids aren\’t socially isolated anymore. There are programs upon programs…it\’s not crazy at all to be considering this; it makes perfect sense.
    Hope you guys have a better day than yesterday.

  6. PJ

    I just wanted to lend you my support, I do remember those days of frustration only too well even though my son has been out of the school system for years now.  I often wonder if things have improved much since my son left and I am not so sure they have despite the huge increase in diagnosis.  So many kids just seem to get lost in the shuffle.  Anyway for me personally I have seen the most growth in my son since leaving the school system.  I wish you all the best and I hope you find some answers for Jacob, you are a good Mom so I know you will keep digging.  Congratulations to Emma.  Take care, Patricia

  7. Lena

    congrats to Emma and her spelling bee win.  Jacob\’s day makes me, a far away virtual acquaintance of his mama\’s very sad, I can only imagine how it makes you feel.  I have no words of wisdom as my peg is round.  Tomorrow\’s a new day, and I hope for you and Jacob, it\’s a better one.
    PS: have you thought about Montessori?  Or is that too unstructured?

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