Accommodations and Tornado S

Yesterday I met with the neuro-psychologist about Tornado S’s evaluation. Three years of fighting, finally, I had results. Drum-roll. Please.

Tornado S has a reading disability. We sat there for three heartbeats.

What? But he reads find. I mean, ok. He could do better. But his comprehension. Sure, he skips words. But. What?

So apparently, Tornado S is crazy bright and has been fooling everyone all these years on how well he reads.

Well, ok, then.

But he needs more testing. By a neurologist. Something is up with his fine motor skills.

Let the battle for referrals begin.

Tornado S has a crossword puzzle to do that corresponded to the map of the United States. He had to correctly spell the state name in tiny squares of a crossword puzzle. Too tiny for Tornado S to write legibly. I stared at it. I pondered it. I studied it.

My Mom: Fae! Are you going to help your son or not?

Me: (still looking at the crossword puzzle and then the map) Yeah. I just need to figure out how to accommodate Tornado S. (pause) (pause) I got it. I need a map. Or a book with the states’ names.

I got out an atlas and got Tornado S to the table. I opened the atlas to the United States. I gave him the worksheet of a map of the United States with numbers labeling the states.

Me: Here’s what we’re going to do. You’re going to find the state we need to write on the crossword puzzle, and then you’re going to spell at me while I write it.

Tornado S: Why can’t you just write it?

Me: Because you’re suppose to be writing it. You’re suppose to be practicing writing the states’ names. Since you’re not writing them, you’re spelling them out loud. Go.

Tornado S: Mama, what is “accommodate?”

Me: It’s. It’s. It’s accommodations…?

Tornado S stared at me. I looked around the room. Then I jumped off my chair and grabbed his hand, pulling him into the kitchen. I grabbed the bag of chips off the fridge.

Me: See how easy that was for me? (I put the bag of chips on the top of the fridge) Now you get it.

He tried and failed. And then jumped and grunted, acting like a cartoon.

Me: So accommodations is giving you a tool to do the work I can. If I handed you the bag, that is not an accommodation. I did the work for you. But if I (I ran into the other room and grabbed the stool. I opened it up in front of him) give you a tool to help you do the work, then I’m giving you an accommodation. Now get the bag.

He scampered up the stool and grabbed the bag. He gave me a big smile and held his arms out for victory.

Me: So an accommodation is helping you do the work you should do.

Tornado S: YEA!

Me: Let’s go get that homework done.

Advertisements

Just a Friendly Wave

When I have the boys in the morning, more often than not, Tornado S stands outside the house to wave at me.

We live on a corner of a T-intersection. Obviously the driveway is furthest from the stop sign. So I pull out and drive parallel to the yard, waving back, yelling, “I love you! Do your best! Have fun!”

Then I turn left, driving passed two neighborhood streets before making another left and driving out of view. The whole way, Tornado S and sometimes Tornado A are waving goodbye to me. So I wave all the way down the street, thinking of Ever After and how it’s tradition to wave at the edge of the drive.

The other day as I’m driving down the street waving back at Tornado S, a woman, walking a dog, came down the street. Seeing me waving, she became excited and waved enthusiastically. “Good morning!” she shouted.

I made her day. And I laughed. I called back, “Good morning.” Then I laughed and waved all the way to my turn.

Pig Vegan Part 2

On vacation, we had lunch with Wally, her wife, and a college friend. 4 women, 3 boys. I have amazing friends.

The topic veered to diets. Not the I’m-so-fat-I-can-only-eat-this talk. No. It’s I-own-chickens-and-I-can’t-eat-chicken-anymore. And it’s so-hard-for-us-to-find-a- restaurant-to-agree-on-anymore. And Tornado S piped up that he was pig vegan, which confused two of the women. So Wally and I went about explaining. When Tornado A, a huge fan of Tornado S, declared that he too was now pig vegan.

NOOOOOOOO!

Wally: What’s so wrong with that?

Me: Ham!

To which, Wally responded with an eye roll.

And before I could respond.

Tornado S: Then I’m going to become a vegetarian.

Me: What? You can’t! You love hamburgers. Aaaaah!

Wally: What’s so wrong with that?

Processing…. processing…. processing… Damnit, no, real logic was coming to my aid.

Me: (grumpy) It’s harder on me.

To which, Wally responded with an eye roll.

The next day, I took the boys to our favorite seafood restaurant. They are only in California and one in Phoenix. I go whenever I get a chance. And all three boys order fish and chips. Then they change the chips to mash potatoes and one macaroni and cheese. The restaurant has amazing mash potatoes and macaroni and cheese, but I’ve never seen any of my kids forgo fries. And then there was the other question.

Me: Tornado S, I thought you were becoming a vegetarian. You can’t eat fish.

Tornado S: I changed my mind.

Well, he did have a hamburger the night before….

Then my clam chowder came, and it was amazing. So amazing. The boys wanted to try it, so I gave them each a spoonful. Then another. I refused third helpings.

Tornado S: Mama! Does this soup have bacon in it?

Me: Yes.

Tornado S: No! But I’m pig vegan! Did I eat any bacon?

Me: No. I made sure you didn’t have any on your spoon.

Tornado looked at me, then the bowl, and then at Tornado S.

Tornado A: I’m sorry, Tornado S. But I can’t be pig vegan. Bacon is too good.

Pig Vegan

Back in Novemeber, Tornado S declared himself pig vegan. Which is to say, he decided to stop eating all meat from pig.

Bacon?

Tornado S: No.

Ham?

Tornado S: No.

Pork chops.

Tornado S: No.

Sausage?

Tornado S: No.

Bacon?

Tornado S: I already said no.

We tempted him. We tried to bribe him. We scolded him. We teased him. We tried to trick him.

On New Year’s dinner, I told him if he didn’t eat the ham, he had to eat everything else, including the beans. And Grandma’s Beans are gross. So very, very gross.

And the kid ate them.

Then I remembered when I was a little older than Tornado S I learned that that dolphins were getting caught in tuna nets. So I gave up canned tuna. I tried to get my classmates to boycott tuna noddle casserole lunch day. It didn’t go over well. The bullies had a field day. But my mom never made me eat another bite of tuna.

So I stopped pestering Tornado S. I gave him real alternative choices to pig meat. He is proud to be pig vegan. And I explain to everyone what it means. Everything has been fine.

Until he tried to ban pepperoni pizza.

Whoa. Whoa. Little man. We respect your believes and allow you to get cheese pizza. Respect our beliefs to eat pepperoni pizza. The one, true pizza.

 

A Money Talk

Me: Well, I spent more than I meant to.

Tornado S and I were leaving Barnes and Noble. Why, yes, I do buy more than I usually should at a bookstore. Today was different. I didn’t know that Barnes and Noble rarely sells paperback picture books. So that easily add $10 a book. Then Tornado S saw a book he liked, and Tornado S never sees a book he likes. So I had to buy it. But I did not buy the five other books that wanted to. And I really, really wanted to.

Tornado S: You say that a lot.

Huh. I know I think that. I know I kick myself when I’m auditing, but that’s more of I-forgot-that-I’m-the-working-poor-and-I-shouldn’t-beat-myself-up-for-not-saving-more-when-there’s-not-more-to-save. I don’t remember the last time I misbudgeted for a store. Most months I do everything in cash to help me save more.

Me: Do other people say that about me?

The silence changed. Ah-ha!

Tornado S: I don’t know.

But he does know! Who would say it? My mother? My father? Or my-

Me: Does Daddy say it?

The silence changed. Ah-ha!

Tornado S: I don’t know.

Well, I did present him with the bill for school supplies. This year the sales were late because we started so damn early. The boys need tons of things. So yeah, it was a hefty bill we split.

Me: Was it recently?

Tornado S: I don’t know.

Not that it matters. The ex has a hard time with spending money not directly related to him. Like he never understood how I could spend so much on groceries or toiletries. His friends would explain that toilet paper is indeed kind of expensive. And then there were the arguments about my book spending and his entertaining. So many stupid fights.

Me: Daddy has always said that about my shopping. I did all the shopping for the house, so he assumed I was always spending even if it was food and toiletries. He also didn’t like me buying so many books. But I love books. Daddy likes to go out, so he likes to spend his money going out and treating people. He buys more expensive clothes than me too. But that’s ok. When you get older and share expenses, as long as you talk about it and compromise, you both can get what you want. You will spending money on things your partner will find silly, and your partner will buy things that you find silly. But as long as you budget and compromise, you’ll be ok.

The silence became introspective.

Tornado S: Ok, Mama.

And that too was a good answer.

It’s just a book

Of all the things I want for gifts, the one I ask for, the one that means the most to me, is for someone to take my boys shopping for me. Show them we buy gifts for the people we love. Show them that we remember special days for the people we love. Show them how to think and empathize with people we love. Buying gifts is a skill. Remembering important days of your love one is love.

My mother likes to give practical gifts. My dad likes to give gifts that will make the person happy. He has been taking the lead gift giving with the boys the last couple of times. For Mother’s Day, the boys and my dad got me a cool Wonder Woman picture.

So my parents took the boys shopping form birthday. Tornado E found a Star Wars gift but abandoned that for a Star Wars movie. Tornado S decided to give me the Star Wars gift. Tornado A walked into the book aisle and brought my dad a book.

Tornado A: (Smiling from ear to ear) We should get Mama this book! (Holds up the book)

Papi: (looks at the book with Donald Trump on the cover) I don’t think your mama will like that book. She isn’t a big fan of Trump.

Tornado A smiled bigger and nodded.

Papi: No prank gifts.

Tornado A sighed and marched back to the aisle. He came running back with a Star Wars book.

Prank gift giving in second grade. That kid is mine.

Early Bloomer

Tornado E: Mama? Remember in third grade when the kids didn’t get my jokes?

Yes. Like when your teacher came up to me to tell me how bright you were and how advanced your humor was, that your classmates didn’t understand your jokes or sarcasm. Like when I started sending school notes with corny kid jokes to expand your humor to something closer to your peers. Like when you wanted to give your best friend a My Little Pony Pinkie Pie for her birthday because she had a nightmare about it and that would be hilarious.

You’re right. It would’ve been. If you were older. Like teenagers. In college. Adults. Not third grade.

Third grade when I had to explain it was ok to tease someone but when that person is hurt or offended, you apologize and never make that joke again. It’s ok to make a mistake and cross a boundary you didn’t know was there. But it was never ok to keep hurting a person like that. Sometimes people won’t be able to tell you they are hurt, so you have to watch for physical cues, and then you back off when you hurt someone. Always.

Me: Yes.

Tornado E: They get my jokes now. They think I’m funny. They try to copy my jokes. They like insulting each other now. They’re trying to be sarcastic. It’s kind of funny.

So it only took them three years to start catching up to Tornado E. I’d pitch him against any of my freshmen any day of the week.