I swear, he’s a genius! (or; Smartmouthmom-the next chapter)

It’s been a bit hectic here at the old homestead. My adolescent son appears to be reaching near critical levels of hormones and I have been sorting out some health issues.

My son is very similar in personality to that chicken hawk in those old Looney Toon cartoons. I strongly identify with Foghorn Leghorn… my son even WALKS like that little bird. He is a bit on the smaller side but is a star athlete and is unafraid to smack talk much larger, older kids on any playing field. He isn’t afraid to use that mouth anywhere–including school.

Last week I had yet another call–this time it was the principal.

Me: Hello?
Principal: Hello! I just wanted to let you know that I was just in the gym, and I heard a very loud OH SHIT!!! It was so loud, in fact, that it could be heard over the game and everyone on the bleachers.
Me: I’m so sorry…
Principal: Yes, well your son said that you were picking him up in 45 minutes, but I thought you might want to know about this as this might change your mind.

Here is where I wanted to say: Well, thanks, but no–45 minutes gives me just enough time to have a couple of glasses of wine before I drive up to school and get this asshole kid of mine. Better yet, why don’t you drive him home? Better yet, let me sit here and drink and call my husband and let him pick him up? And really, to be honest, I’m surprised he only said shit.

But I didn’t say any of that. I didn’t even have a drink, I just drove up and fetched my son. And told him to watch his mouth.

Now–because I’m a comedian, I posted about this on Facebook–and I said that if this happened again that I was going to tell the school that according to a recent Facebook article, swearing can be a sign of genius, maybe you’re not challenging him enough and GOOD DAY SIR!!! (that last bit is an homage to John Oliver.)

The very DAY that I posted that, I got yet another call from the school. This time it was the teacher. She was calling to inform me that due to my son’s mouth and behavior, she had to eject him from the classroom. (SIGH) So I said….I’m so sorry….and I will talk to him….but are you aware that according to a recent Facebook article, swearing can be a sign of genius, maybe the school isn’t challenging him enough–maybe this is why he is acting out???

I could barely say this without giggling. I couldn’t help myself. The joke was already set up.

The teacher said, and I quote: “I saw the same article on Facebook–I don’t think the problem is his intelligence–I think it’s his mouth.”

It’s possible I may have cost my son some more time in detention for the sake of a joke. It’s also possible that my son is also destined for the stage as he said that the reason he was ejected was for talking during a movie about love or otters or something and he just couldn’t bring himself to watch it.

For the record, I did talk with him about his behaviors and tried to explain that school may not be the best place to act out, and that teachers and principals deserve respect.

And now he wants to grow dreadlocks. I responded that I didn’t know he was such a Bob Marley fan and that I was going up to search his room.

Parenting. Not for the faint of heart my friends.

Peace people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Fun (just pass the bottle)

It’s August, and that means summer vacation time. We took our yearly trek up to northern Michigan last week. My husband and I get into a “discourse” before every long car trip. By long, I mean anything longer than the distance of our short driveway. He offered to drive. I suggested (read-strongly refused to let him) that I do so instead as he could probably use the rest.

Here’s the reason. My husband suffers from what I like to call “Driving Induced Narcolepsy.” It doesn’t matter if he is the driver or the passenger. He will fall asleep in a matter of seconds once the car motor is started. Now, I’m usually a very liberal girl….but on this occasion, well, I’m very decidedly PRO LIFE. I’m driving. My husband can be driving, and nodding off, and driving…and nodding off….the kids, frantic in the back seat….my daughter, texting me frantic messages to wake her dad the (blank) up… next the kids start recording farewell messages to their classmates…to be played on what would have been their graduation days…. my husband, still driving and nodding…..irritated if I suggest he pull the F*** OVER NOW!!

Anyway, this will go on…and then suddenly, some dude in a car will try to pass on the right. My husband will shoot to consciousness like a rocket, his foot instantly pressing on the gas. Seriously???? It’s the man rule: Thou shalt not let another car pass in front of you. It’s unbelievable. Now it’s on and my husband has gone all Nascar on me. Except he hates Nascar. Except for this instance. Jesus.

And I’m thinking how the (blank) tough do you really think you look (asshole) driving the six-year-old Explorer, with dents on the side, three kids in the back, adorned with bumper stickers??? And how far do you think we are going to get when we are surrounded by ORANGE BARRELS AS IT IS SUMMER IN MICHIGAN????

Day three of the vacation I staggered up to the food kiosk at the beach to order food. My youngest son had thrown me into the lake. Michiganders like to refer to the temperature of the Great Lakes as “refreshing.” Bullshit. I’m from Michigan and I am here to tell you that even on a ninety degree day the water was bloody damn cold. I hadn’t brought a brush with me to the beach…because why would I… As the guy at the lunch place leaned into the window to take my order I caught sight of my shadow. My hair had dried into a pattern that can only be described as “Medusa like.” The guy asked me what I wanted. I think I may have spoken in a voice normally reserved for serial killers in movies when I replied: Vodka. But only the good stuff–like Grey Goose. And no mixer. Just the damn bottle. And a bunch of limes.

The guy looked at me and said huh. He then proceeded to tell me all about the local variety of vodka made up in Traverse City…and then we had quite the conversation about the different types of vodka. I think he would have given me a free drink/bottle had he any vodka on him. I think he sensed my desperation. Maybe the hair was a give away. Hard to tell, really…

The drive home only took a short six hours. It is normally a three and a half hour jaunt, but it’s Michigan and summer, which means road construction. Which means some asshat decided to close one lane of the main highway pretty much all the way home…

You know, when you’re stuck in a car for that long, you start to think about things, like teleporting, and flying cars, and running away and assuming a new identity. And why the hell can’t they make a more comfortable car seat. Seriously.

We’re home now and I’m happy to report I’m not an alcoholic. I am counting down the days until school begins again…

Peace people

 

 

 

 

Coin Toss

He has a name. Arnaldo Eliud Rios Soto is the name of the autistic young man who wandered away from the group home last week in Miami–and the world watched his African-American behavioral therapist get shot attempting to help him.

Ok, technically, the shooting is NOT on the video. What we see is the African-American therapist laying on the ground with his hands in the air, while Rios sits cross-legged next to him. They are in the middle of the street. Rios is holding a toy truck. Charles Kinsey, the therapist, can be heard yelling that he is a behavioral therapist and that Rios is his patient.

It didn’t F******* matter. The SWAT team member shot Kinsey in the leg. He had a report that Rios was suicidal and had a gun. He was actually aiming for Rios. (Because it makes sense to kill a man that might be suicidal instead of actually helping him…No, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s bullshit.)

I have been sick to my stomach for days over this.

Two of my children are African. One of my four children, my twenty year old son, is autistic. Imagine the scenario someday where my two boys are together and my autistic son becomes agitated–possibly aggressive. My African son is with him. What if a bystander calls the police?

A couple of years ago I stopped by my local police department to inquire as to their autism training and intervention plans. The officer I talked to was, well, a total jerk. He took one look at my arms, bruised from a previous bad day with my son. It happens. The officer was ready to press charges and wanted me to sign a form IMMEDIATELY.

WHAT. THE. F***.

I had come there for help. I wanted to know that if I needed assistance with my son, I could count on them showing up and not shooting him; not tasering him; not hurting him in any way. Instead, I realized that this fellow had no idea about cognitive delays, mental health, and autism.

Last week’s shooting was my worst nightmare come true. I understand that not all police officers are incompetent, racist asshats. I do. But shooting Kinsey was completely UNNECESSARY. The thought that the officer actually meant to shoot Rios sickens me.

So again, I pose the question: What if my two sons are in public. Which one are the police going to aim for? The thought sickens me. Both are innocent. Both were born with a set of genes that determined their individual destinies. One: tall, caucasian, cognitively impaired, autistic. One: shorter, strong, African, bright.

Black Lives Do Matter. Deal with it.

Autism exists. Learn about it and deal with it.

Try and show compassion and kindness towards each other.

Peace people.

 

On a more serious note…

I’ve been a bit busy lately. I am taking this online writing course to help me jump start writing my novel(s). So, for today’s blog I am going to put in a bit I wrote for the class. I hope you enjoy it. Maybe enjoy isn’t the right word…

Mom was on the playroom floor again. It was going to be one of those kind of days. I sucked my thumbed hard, looking at her through my fingers curled up around my nose and eyes. The window shades were pulled down, as always, blocking out the sun. A few beams tried to penetrate the pink room but were stopped, partly by the thickness of the shade itself, partly by the gloom in the room. Mom was weeping; a few sobs escaping before she could stop them.

She noticed me standing there. “GO!!!” she screamed at me. She was instantly enraged. I ran like hell, down the stairs of the tri-level home, through the kitchen and out the back door. I didn’t want to take a chance of her moving from her fetal position on the floor. I stooped down and began turning over the gravel stones that formed our driveway. Fossils were always a treasure and I was hoping to find an old shell imprint on a stone. I studied the stones with the intensity of a raptor, looking for prey.

The sun was blocked out and I grew annoyed. I looked up to see my sister standing a few feet in front of me. She crouched down to join me in the hunt. “Mom’s crying again,” she said flatly. I nodded my reply. We both knew that the crying had an unknown time limit. It could last a few hours, stopping just before dad got home from work, or for a week. Our silent house would become even more silent, as we had learned early on how to tip toe and hide.

“I’m going to walk down the street and look at the neighbor’s dog,” said Suzy. I shot to anger like a rocket going to space. “NO. You can’t. What if mom comes looking for us? We’re not allowed to leave the yard. She’ll get mad. She’ll get mad at ME for letting you go. You know what happens when she gets mad. Don’t you dare leave the yard.” Suzy looked at me defiantly. She turned to walk down the driveway, and through the fence that surrounded our house like a moat. I launched myself at her, causing both of us to fall hard onto the gravel. I punched her hard on her arm. She started crying. We were both bleeding from skinning our knees on the stones. I didn’t care. I was angry at her, at mom, at life.

I walked away and sat down under the lilac bush and began sucking my thumb. I hated my life and I was only nine years old.

 

 

 

 

 

Birds of Pray (or,Why tofurky is starting to look a little better..but only a little.)

I had a flashback memory today. I feel the need to share with you.

I’m going to start in advance by apologizing to any of you that keep kosher. My hat is off to you as I know how much work is involved.

I am married to a Jewish man and while we don’t eat pork or shellfish, (author’s note-my husband never does–I can’t claim the same–don’t judge me..)I don’t keep a kosher kitchen. I was raised without any formal religious training, so marrying a conservative Jew was, well interesting at first.

We worked it out and that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, today I was prepping chicken for tonight’s dinner. I had purchased a cut up kosher chicken as I hadn’t gotten to the market I normally go to for the all natural stuff I usually buy. As I cleaned the chicken I was irritated by the amount of feathers I had to pull off.

And then I remembered.

Many years ago, I bought a kosher turkey for Thanksgiving. Why, I’m not exactly sure…I can’t remember if I had forgotten to order the all natural I usually do, or if the market had run out of the normal…it’s a bit foggy. Anyway, I brought it home and Thanksgiving morning pulled off the wrapper, ready to clean it and throw it in the oven.

WTF.

It was literally covered in feathers. I mean, covered. I had never seen anything like it. You could have plucked one out, stuck it in a hat and called it macaroni. The thing looked ready to take flight, even in its headless state.

I started to panic. I had never dealt with anything like this before. Because I was in a rush and having an anxiety attack, it didn’t occur to me to actually Google how to deal with this. So, I grabbed pliers and began to pluck. And pluck. And pluck.

Turkeys have a lot of damn feathers.

A lot of cursing was heard that Thanksgiving.

I was thankful it finally made it to the oven. I was thankful we didn’t keep a kosher kitchen. I was thankful I didn’t have to kill and pluck my own birds and again pondered becoming a vegetarian. I was thankful for the large quantity of wine I drank when I finally sat down that day.

I have decided that kosher birds are assholes.

Peace people.

 

 

Waiting for (African) Superman (or, How To Blow Your Child’s Mind In One Easy Step…)

I don’t think anything gives a parent more pleasure than driving their children crazy. At least for me anyway.

This weekend I drove my youngest son to the brink of madness. And it was AWESOME.

It started with a conversation about Superman. Earlier I had read an online article about how Superman’s skin should actually be dark as he derives his energy from the sun. The argument then went on to state that Superman should actually have brown or black skin. Now, one would think that my son, the AFRICAN, would embrace this idea.

Not so much.

Quite frankly, the thought of that blew his mind.

We argued back and forth for quite some time. He yelled that changing Superman would alter all the comics for the last seventy years. I yelled that they had changed Green Lantern to a darker toned person… my son grew angrier and said that Green Lantern was NOT a major superhero… I said to tell that to Green Lantern… I accused HIM of being a superhero racist…He told me I was IMPOSSIBLE…and that if I wanted to change superheroes so much, what about BATMAN?? COULD BATMAN BE BLACK???

I replied probably not because Batman was rich and had a butler (and then I cracked up…waiting for his wrath…)

This drove him blind with fury and he accused ME of being a racist…

For the record, neither one of us is racist. Just to be clear.

And shortly after this heated exchange my husband drove my son to the comic book store to buy the new Black Panther comic (which I looked through quickly just to make sure it wasn’t pornographic, only to have my son inform me that it wasn’t and tell me the name of the graphic novel that was. Good to know that he knows these things. Sigh…)

If you have children, go have a debate with them. Make them stand their ground. Drive them a little bit crazy. It will make them critical thinkers and maybe develop a sense of humor. It will also be a bit fun for you…

Later that night we all watched the “Captain America”movie, blanket pulled up, arms all over each other.

Family.

Peace people.

 

 

 

A Reminder of What Could Have Been (or, Go out and watch this movie. NOW.)

Saturday started out with a bang. Or, with a lecture. My youngest son asked me to put the security code in the IPad… I complied, and noticed he was on a music site. Curious as to what he was listening to, I pressed play. HOLY SHIT. It was a hip hop song…I immediately looked it up the lyrics on my computer…HOLY SHIT… it was filled with all sorts of profanity, very misogynistic (something about I’m going to “blank” on that “blank” and then the “blank” can take Uber home..) Ummmmm…..

No.

I questioned my son about this…I asked him if he knew what this song was about…if he knew what all these words meant…he said yes…(OK WRONG THING TO SAY–although I appreciate the honesty…). I asked why he was listening to this.. he said that this is the kind of music they listened to back in Africa….

I began my lecture at this point. I explained that the women referred to in this song were in fact, somebody’s mother, sister, or daughter. I said that when he listens to songs like this, it embeds in his mind… and that eventually he could possibly think this is ok. I said that just because he listened to rap music back in Africa, doesn’t mean that is good for him.

I want him to remember his African heritage. I do. But not all of his African memories are good.

Later that evening, my husband and I watched the movie “Beasts of No Nation.” If you have not seen this, I urge you to do so. It is the story of an unnamed West African country during its civil war. It is the story of how one boy becomes a child soldier. It doesn’t say it, but I believe it to imply the country of Sierra Leone.

The country two of my children are from.

The young boy, Agu, reminded me so much of my son. SO MUCH. There is a scene at the beginning of the movie where Agu is unable to escape with his mother–I began to sob. I knew his fate. I knew that had my own son been born ten or fifteen years earlier… this would have been his as well.

The movie was graphic. It could have been even more so…it did not include some of the more gruesome atrocities committed during the war. The point was made without the inclusion of these. The young actor, Abraham Attah, portrays his role so well…I bled inside my soul for all those lost children during the war.

Those children that were forced to fight and survived, are now grown. They are still in a third world country, with a weak economy, ravaged by ebola and other diseases, lack of education and sanitation, poor access to water or health care…how long before this type of war happens again?

These are memories I am so very grateful my children do not have.

But for those children still left there, with no hope of being adopted out…every single one of them could be a spark of life like my son or daughter. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

My heart hurts for them.

Watch this movie and see if yours doesn’t as well.

Peace people.