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Surely you jest….

This whole situation with my son is ridiculous. It technically started when my daughter was going through all the trouble with the school this year. He was facing the same truancy issue she was when we kept them home. Come to find out – we know for a FACT it was a lie when they told us we could not withdraw her until they had the letter. They indeed were just using that to keep stacking up days. We could have taken her out the day the incident on the bus happened and had 30 days to enroll her somewhere else before being dragged into court. I KNEW I was reading the law right – I kick my own ass every single time I don’t follow my gut. *headdesk* I digress…

Anyways, they decided after it all went down, NOT to charge my son with truancy. However, when some of the plots were foiled against my daughter and some of their “power” taken away by them not getting their way with her counseling, we saw motions begin against my son. (If you recall she has a counselor that has seen her through this last several years of BS – her brother has even had a sibling session). Suddenly right before Christmas break – like the final week before – my son’s Spanish teacher calls out of the blue and tells my husband Bubba is failing Spanish, that he has been showing signs of “depression” and they were sending home paperwork recommending a program for him; “did we want to start him immediately or after break?” I’m livid when I get the message from my hubby, no one called me at HOME, instead, they call him at work to talk to him about MY son. As soon as Bubba hits the door I ask him about it. He tells me that she told him the same thing. I ask how it is possible when he just brought a progress report home a few days before and he wasn’t failing? He didn’t know. He just let her tell him that and didn’t ask for clarification. *sigh* Then she tells him there is nothing he can do to pass – including the final. So he doesn’t. Seems this was another lie…..

I left a few messages with a few different people before break but no one bothered to return my calls. Then no one called after break either. In fact, no one called until I called the high school mid-week and asked to speak with the vice principal Mr. Swafford. Now, I like this guy so far. I’ve spoken to him a few times and we’ve had a positive interaction each time. He seemed shocked they had spoken to my son before even calling me and apologized they called his step-father instead of me, his mother. He assured me he would get to the bottom of it and would let me know what is being done. ETA: He also told me he would put the “word out to everyone we were refusing counseling”.

Instead, I get a call from the counselor. She doesn’t say she has talked to the vice principal, she says she is calling to talk about the message I left her. Even when I tell her she isn’t the only one I left a message with she hems and haws and denies any knowledge of anything else. She can’t answer me why they didn’t call me first, why they spoke to him before me, why no one called me back, why no one else has ever said anything like this about my son, why his coach who would know him best hasn’t raised questions….I start getting pissed. She keeps asking these little confused, lost sounding questions like “you don’t have any questions about the program?” Me: Uhhh no, I researched and found out all I needed to know and we are not interested…..“so if someone is concerned about your son they have to call you first?” I’m like what part of “Yes, he is a minor” does this chick not get? I informed her she would speak to his parents or his attorney first from this point on was that clear enough for her? She yes ma’am-ed me. LOL But WAIT it gets better…..

The NEXT day I call to talk to the v-p again only this time he doesn’t call, my sons’ Spanish teacher Mrs. West does. She tells me this whole spiel about a troubled, mean, withdrawn, socially inept kid… I’m sitting on the other end of the phone wondering if she has the right house and child. I even told her she was describing a stranger – that he was never this way at home or outside the school. That he spoke with adults and kids of all ages and I was often complimented about it. That HE was the one to pull the kid on the edges of the crowd in by going over, introducing himself and chatting with them like they are normal…..because they ARE. She told me he didn’t even bother with the final, like she gave him any reason to. (yes he got a stern talking to over her making a fool of him like that). She exaggerated certain things, left others out and flat out misrepresented the rest. She didn’t miss a beat when I told her it was a school problem not a social problem – that this was the result of everyone’s mom/uncle/cousin/sibling/brother’s/next-door-neighbor getting involved in a “feud”. Glossed right the hell over that road mine. Problem she had…..my son and I talk….about EVERYTHING. Even if no one will talk about my son’s “one hallway” problem. I already knew the whole, REAL story of what occurred in each situation she tried to use. She also throws in the name of my son’s coach (which is the first mention -and only after I said it first…) These people keep underestimating who they are dealing with. Then she dropped the nuke…..Asperger’s.

Everything screeched to a halt with that word! INSTANTLY! I immediately insisted that we have a meeting with all his teachers. She backtracked saying she “hoped she was able to attend” and started being all “I hope you don’t feel this is malicious or anything” and I told her I did (but odd phrasing right?!). She gave me the “I’m sorry you feel that way spiel” that she was “just concerned and really cares about my kid, says how smart he is etc” . Listen chick, you don’t get to drop a word like Asperger’s, say crazy shit about my child and then stroll off saying you hope you can be there to help figure it all out….

I called the school and left a message for the Superintendent. The person who called me back was Mr. Cox – he and I have had a few talks already. So yeah. There is a meeting scheduled Monday, AFTER school hours so we won’t be rushed with EVERYONE. First and Second Semester teachers – so his Spanish teacher doesn’t have to miss out after all (lol), principal/vice-principal, a Superintendent Dr. Bell, the counselors, our son and us of course. They tried to pass me off on P/T conferences – I said we didn’t want to be time limited. They tried to have Dr. Bell sit out since it was Dr. Jones who knew the case – I said since he was out on medical leave Dr. Bell should just sit in so we have it covered. NOTHING will be left to chance. I’m going to nip this in the bud.

Of course there is more to say but there are details I’d rather sit on till after we talk. After all, a good poker player never tips their hand….

Ciao 2015 ~ a farewell to thee

Frankly I’m not sure where to begin a summary of this year. The week of Christmas really took all I had to get through.

We worked really hard this year for Christmas. The tree we got was so amazing, even the paramedics commented on it – if that tells you anything. Then it was nearly denied when he got sick Tuesday before and was admitted to the hospital for days. He apparently told them Christmas Eve morning he was leaving, he had to be with his family.

The first trip they left him in a miserable heap, wrapped in a blanket, never bothering to give him an IV, meds or a sick bag. He returned the favor by making sure he spewed puke everywhere for them. I told them he was sick…. No one listens to me until I switch to bitch mode. I had no time because I was still in holy-smokes-this-is-serious mode.

stubborn menThe fact that he scooted out for Christmas is little consolation to me as I was suspicious at the time that he was no where near ready. He only broke his fever at 11pm the night before and had not even been monitored on a liquid or soft diet. Hell, he wasn’t done puking or being nauseous. To his credit he spent what little energy he had wrapping presents and playing Santa. He wanted to be part of it. Even if he did have to squat down and rest his head on his hands against the bed for a minute or so here and there. *SIIIIIIIGH*

I did my best to not be disappointed too badly by a holiday dream interrupted but when he got sick for the second time I was damn displeased. I’ve never seen my hubby so sick – he wasn’t even here, don’t know where he went on vacation to but it was crazy shit. The trip to the hospital was a nightmare ER side but when we got hospital side it was wonderful.

I’ve met this particular ER doctor once before and trust me when I say this won’t be an issue I drop. They nearly killed my husband with their stupid moves and the hospital is in pretty pathetic shape as far as supplies and staff goes too. The first time I met Dr. Fat @ss it was ME he was trying to kill. I’m not being dramatic either – wish I was. But I’m not sure I could make this up if I tried…..it all sounds so surreal.

I literally did not leave OD’s side once I made it to the hospital. I slept there, ate there until they discharged him. As soon as I arrived, I went out with the intentions of touching base and finding out what they knew and didn’t and he jumped in right off being an asshole. He started by claiming that OD had not been there for long. I had time to dry my clothes & his “hospital” blanket before I left for the hospital, not to mention it takes 45 minutes to get there on top of that. I stopped in my proverbial tracks for a second and then looked him square in the eye and told him I was simply giving them important information, that I was demanding or accusing nothing and used the exact wording “let’s get this clear right from the start”.

I saw a nurse off to my right get shocked to her core – like mouth dropped open and eyes bugged out. I finished telling them what they needed to know and then told them he was severely dehydrated and that seeing as my husband was not hooked up to anything and had been given no meds – was hot to my touch and still vomiting I would like to know what was going on. Then I pinned Ms. Shocked in my gaze and told her I’d be needing to speak with a supervisor apparently. Imagine my non-surprise, when suddenly a nurse appeared – I presume she was supposed to be the ‘battle axe’ no-nonsense one – with a handful of meds and an IV bag. ***there are days…..*** HER nonsense was stopped at the insinuation SHE was there looking out for her patient and I wasn’t….I informed her I was his wife and that WAS my job. She dropped her eyes and admitted immediately that I was right about that. Yeah….I had the upper hand and kept it.

They about KILLED his ass with a shot of benedryl and he wound up on heart monitor/code after that. I should have gone with my gut but I KNEW if we refused meds it upped his chances of being booted out by this lazy doctor. The nurse insisted they give it all the time for nausea when I questioned her and stopped hooking it up to his lock in a rather challenging manner. I just silently met her gaze and I was sorry I didn’t make a fuss. (we since found out the blood pressure meds he takes have a direct interaction with Benedryl – OY!) His chest hurt immediately and that battle axe blew it off telling him it would pass. It didn’t. His blood pressure dropped too damn low (93/50) – the EKG monitor alarm went off twice. The first time it happened I buzzed the desk when no one came. Their response was “Yeah, we see it on the screen out here”. O.o The first time I buzzed out there for meds – they shut the call light off without responding. Yes the nurse came in, but that wasn’t the point. That doc worked his butt off trying to prove I was wrong, this wasn’t a readmit and that hubby had picked up a secondary infection last visit.

It literally took FOREVER for Dr. F@# F@$# to get things done but I made it my business to be as sweet as I could possibly be to anyone and everyone who entered the room from that point on. wink  After all I am a proper southern gal and this is war…..& I wasn’t stupid enough to set foot out of the ER, knowing they would not let me back in. It made for a VERY long 5 hour wait. To be fair…the last hour one nurse decided I wouldn’t bite and offered me a soda and a blanket.

Once he got admitted it was smooth sailing from there. The nurses who knew us chided him good naturedly for being back again and I told them he just wanted to get out and get presents. LOL. I’m still short on sleep, grouchy that the end of the year was as trying as the rest of it and not really expecting the new one to be that much different. It would be nice but at this point in life, being a realist is the only thing that keeps me sane. I HAVE to live in the real world or I would be overwhelmed. It’s my job to protect the rest of them.

Bubba is good. He is on the football team and slugging his way through life. The school is attempting some tricks I can’t really discuss right now. But I assure you they will NOT succeed. “They” couldn’t get my husband, they couldn’t get me and now they are targeting my children. We are on high alert, never fear. Hard to believe that he will be 16 next month. I hardly feel like the mother of a 16 year old – it seems like yesterday I was there myself. I look with shining eyes at the man he is becoming and despair of his teen habits as every parent does. But that boy really is something special and so is the relationship we share. Very unique, very open, very honest. I don’t have illusions that he tells me everything but he feels free to talk about the important ones with me and that is awesome.

My little tornado. WHEW. Where do we start with her. Still homeschooling and still dealing with the fallout from the issues with the school. We won’t be free of them “officially” till April and we will be so glad. We made moves to put protections in place for her as well so I am cautiously optimistic that we will have no further problems with legal entanglements. It’s a shame when a whole community teaches the youth that they cannot trust the adults around them for help. We are in the sad minority here. I’m shocked more voices have not been raised but then again they came up against a pretty unique pairing of skill sets with me and OrdinaryDad. Skills I’m glad to see being passed successfully to our two youngest where we never seemed to get through to the oldest three. She struggles a bit with missing her friends but loves the school program she does and the ability to be flexible and learn more about what interests her.

Yeah, this is one of those moments that’s got your name written all over it
And you know that if I had this one wish
It’d be that you didn’t have to miss this
Aw, you should be here…

We lost precious loved ones this year. Wounds that are still very raw for me for many different reasons. Friends and family taken from us far too soon, for one reason or another. Things like that leave a gap that can’t really be filled. When the wind blows….we feel the whistle. We missed some precious moments too because of the pride and petty hate of others. They will scar over in time and the experience and knowledge we gained just might be worth a few licks; I’ll let you know….

It was a constant battle of one kind or another thru the whole year. It was full of milestones, heartbreak, new knowledge, growth, temptations, trials, death, losses & triumphs. My mother’s surgery went well and she is home healing. Husband is home healing. Kids are healthy and so am I. But I won’t lie. I’m left feeling drained after it all, the best laid plans of mice and men. There are serious moments of doubt, where you start examining everything with a microscope but when the shit hits the fan it is how your heart/gut/soul feels about it that is real. The doubt is just the fear winning. Not that it really helps in those low moments…..I haven’t figured out how to protect myself from letting it get the upper hand some days. It’s voice is just so loud and insistent.

I haven’t kept in as close of contact as I’d like with my friends and family. It’s so hard for me to block out the noise of all the stress going on – everyone needs me for something – when a moment comes I just want to curl up with my soft little blanket and let the world drift away for a while. I think about you guys all the time and I feel a great amount of guilt for pulling away…..it’s just how I deal. It’s my survivor mode. I just literally can’t sometimes. There is a sad part of me too that has to shut out the sadness of us & our children not being able to grow up together. I miss you all dreadfully.

We have our Christmas lights on, the fireplace going and some wine in glasses ~ still fighting, still here and ready to face 2016 with steely determination. Until we meet again, stay safe and be blessed my warrior friends.

 

 

“So this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause.”

Today was rough, I’m not going to lie my friends…it makes a body feel hopeless and more than a little like giving up. I sat here thinking thru my life and pondered over all the tough shit I’ve lived through but could not think of a single thing (no matter how shocking) that hurt my heart and soul more than what we are struggling with right now. I’d DIE for these kids and to have my hands tied, to be turned away by everyone I’ve asked to help my daughter and to be told there is nothing to be done now….I die a little inside every time.

I have called/contacted anyone and everyone we could think of – from local to federal and back again. I’ve contacted as many bullying organizations that I can as well. The answer is always the same – that isn’t our jurisdiction but I can refer you to someone. After a few weeks of that, the list started to peter out and it was more like “sorry we can’t do anything” or “gee you should have started with law enforcement three years ago”. Now we are lucky if anyone bothers to call us back.

Today I got a letter from the District Attorney for our area. It said a whole lot of nothing so I decided to call the office to clarify. Here is that letter: 

 

Firstly the lady who answered the phone was pretty snotty. Secondly, she was very unhelpful. When I finally found out they were all in court I asked her if there was anyone else who I could speak with and gave a brief description. She said no. So I told her I had no problem calling the other local office and if they couldn’t help me I would go back up the chain to Washington. She wanted to keep telling me what they couldn’t do and interrupting me so I asked her if she would just please send me to voicemail and I would leave him a message and make my other calls. She finally did so and I called the other DA office as soon as I got off the phone. While the other woman was very nice, she told me that office was in court as well, but offered me the name of the guy there I should speak with and I left him a message as well.

Mister Drew Robinson, the Assistant DA, finally called me back around noon. As our conversation progressed I became more and more frustrated with his attitude. He told me that there was nothing the DA could do unless charges had been filed by the school or law enforcement – they don’t get involved until that point. He wanted to keep insinuating there was no ‘official’ problem and when I mentioned the two suicides this year, he denied any knowledge of the two young people in the same school district who had taken their lives this year due to the bullying issue in our schools. He also said there must not have been any solid evidence or proof if nothing had ever come of our complaints to the school.

I asked what the recourse was if the school had dropped the ball or refused to press charges and explained that the police/state troopers had told me on two separate occasions they couldn’t file charges or didn’t see where either side could. Nothing, was the answer he gave me. In order to clear any ambiguity I asked him “so if the school has destroyed or failed to maintain records of these incidents, there is absolutely nothing I can do?” and he said that was indeed the case. I asked him then if that meant there was no protection for these children, that the school could do whatever they wanted to and he definitely skated around directly answering me. Did repeat what he said about something having to be filed in court before any action on their part but when I told him that one family was already filing suit, he seriously dared to say that there must have been some sort of compelling evidence or proof in that case. I said “yes, a dead body, does my daughter have to die too for us to get help?” Completely silent on his end before launching back into his run-around speech. When he got back around to there not being a systematic issue here, I pinned him down with the fact that the superintendent – Dr. James Jones himself has said, on camera, in several of the news reports locally, there IS an issue but they’re “working on it”.

Even when I told him they were attempting to charge her with assault and that she was put on real deal probation without conviction, trial or charges he seemed unconcerned. He actually said there must have been a reason……we should have spoken with an attorney. I told him we DID have an attorney so he tried to lay blame on him saying he must have made a deal behind our back basically. When I informed him that was not the case, that we walked in and that is what they presented to us. I even told him the judge must have felt it wasn’t serious enough to warrant pursuit and decided to offer us the 6 month deferral of it so they can verify, no she ISN’T a troublemaker. When time is up and there isn’t any issues, they have to drop it and it will be expunged…..provided they don’t pull another one of their dirty tricks.

The DA (who by the way, never even indicated they were involved or bothered to call our attorney back before court) was the one who insisted on probation, in fact they flat refused to do anything without her having to report. They wanted to send her to teenage character classes (the judge refused) and kept trying to insist when that did not happen, as well as the fact that they wanted to make her go to their counselor even though she has been seeing an excellent one since the bullying issue began. In fact, I put her in counseling after that little pervert touched her the first time and told her he would do it whenever he wanted. The judge again refused them after I explained she has been seeing someone regularly for a while now and she would be much more comfortable with him. So they lost on that front too. Y’all would seriously freak if I told you what probation entails as far as the “rules”. I also have to prove she is progressing in school, even though TN no longer has jurisdiction over her schooling, as well as prove she is seeing a counselor and making positive progress there too. Basically I cannot let her go anywhere without me being there because I don’t trust them not to pull some BS because they didn’t get what they wanted. I REFUSE to back down or be afraid of these petty little tyrants.

I also did not get any sufficient response on the fact that the investigator, Calvin Lockholt, the DA sent out here did not speak to us, my daughter or even look at what evidence we DO have. He just stopped by the Sheriff’s office, listened to some nasty gossip and left. Then never bothered to call us back. He wanted to tell me he explained all this in his letter and I told him he didn’t, it said a whole lot of nothing. So after being told for the billionth time there would be no help I told him that yes, I guess I did need to leave a message with Mr. Lockholt and he told me he would do so. Now ask me if I believe him…..

I’m sorry I was ever reasonable with this school system. I hate that I didn’t call the cops the first time and every time after that. I didn’t want to be THAT parent….but turns out, you have to be that parent. They will lie right to your face and then do everything they can to protect their own asses, jobs and the gravy train they ride. If you think they care about your kids you are sorely mistaken. I’m begging you all, please don’t be the nice parent!! Get everything in writing, get copies of what they are “promising” to do, get copies of any video and do NOT let them tell you they can’t – that it is protected under FERPA because it is NOT. Make them send you a report saying how they handled it and specifically what they are doing to ensure it does not happen again. Don’t let them sweet talk you or make you feel like you are being completely OCD!! If you have a meeting where notes are taken, make sure you get a copy of what they write as well or they might “accidentally” lose proof you ever had any issues. Whenever an issue happens, take notes on what happened, what was said, who you talked to, the date, the time, what they plan to do and the names of who was involved. If your child is old enough, have them write down what happened in their own words. Then make sure you follow up until they give you an answer on the issue. Even if the school refuses to charge the bully – you can go to the courthouse yourself and file papers. They don’t tell you that fact either. Don’t let them brush you off or say there isn’t anything to charge anyone with.

I hate that they can shatter our lives with a lie and walk away. I hate that we are on the losing end and we are the victims here. I loathe small town politics and power families who think they can’t be touched. I’m not saying that ALL teachers and ALL public schools are bad – but the system is definitely broken and instead of serving families and children – most only serve themselves.

crying liberty

Hug your babies close tonight, say a little prayer or send some good mojo our way, and please listen to what your kids aren’t telling you about between the words as they tell you about their day. Everyone likes to brush off bullying as a harmless childhood occurrence we cannot stop but it KILLS and destroys the lives of innocent children and families. From my family to yours – many blessings – Namaste my warrior friends. Until we meet again, stay safe and be blessed.

 

 

There is no justice…only shades of lesser evils.

What do you do if you go into a game knowing the deck has been stacked? What if there is no way to stop what was happening, only ways to mitigate the damage? What would you choose? Even if doing it ripped your whole soul to shreds? What if your already tortured daughter turned her eyes up to yours and told you she didn’t want to be forced to testify in court? Would you shed a few tears inside, suck it up and choose discretion as the better part of valor?

Do I have a duty to pursue what I KNOW we could prove or a duty to protect my daughter from further emotional trauma and stress? I’m a fighter and this is wrong!! It’s wrong of a school to bully children like they are. It is wrong of these people to get away with what they do. Further more it is wrong of them to shatter a child’s world with a lie. And to go home and feel fine with that lie. How can they stomach it? I can barely stand to be in the same room with these people. It’s even more difficult for me to not go the route of a trial against them based on all that she has endured. I don’t know if protecting her from having to testify in court was the right thing to do…..but I was there alone. Just the two of us against the world.

She sat curled up into me with my shawl wrapped around us both. She kept saying she was cold but I knew it was because she was scared. She’s her mother’s daughter – never one to show weakness in the face of an enemy. She knows how to keep her mouth shut, she just chooses not to most of the time. Today she was quieter than I ever hear her. I know that child better than I know myself – she is fascinating to watch. A study in contrasts. She is a mosaic full of brilliant, shining pieces. I love her to death but she is too vivacious to cuddle for long or hold my hand for that matter and she was doing both the whole long hours we sat in court today. The closer we got to home the more relaxed she became. Once Bubba got in the car my little Tornado was back.

I hate that they changed the way that she sees the world. I am so sad every time I see her eyes turn wary at the sight of a group of people. I know she doesn’t trust the world, that she won’t ever trust “establishments” to keep her safe – maybe never again and it breaks me. She turns those eyes to me and asks me to keep her safe and the heavy burden falls on my shoulders to make damn sure I don’t break THAT trust. So, off to battle once again my friends.

If you would like to share, learn more or help here are the links to all her sites:

Until we meet again. Stay safe and be blessed.

 

A Fresh Start – my ‘parent perspective’ on bullying

Always painting outside the lines & making beautiful things.

Always painting outside the lines & making beautiful things.

This is my tornado. Her name is Alexandria, and this is her story. She has been the target of bullies for the last several years.

She is 12 now but this has been going on since she was very young. She is 4’8″ and weighs 70lbs soaking wet if she is lucky. You would think, me being a pretty intelligent, empathetic, self-aware person and all that jazz, I’d have seen the signs sooner. Not to mention I was bullied myself. But I still missed it……trust me my friends, you are NOT alone in that guilt.

Middle School was a nightmare for me. I had just moved to the east coast at her exact age, I had a Southern accent from living in Kentucky for the past few years or so and I was definitely not the strong, confident girl I am today. Perhaps if I had been, things would have turned out differently for me there. I won’t bore you with the details, they were bad – but I made it through and when I went to HS, everything was different. It’s the age I swear…..

From the second I knew she was on her way into this world, my little girl has always marched to the beat of her own drum. She lives life out loud in the raw format version, where her older brother is very laid back and mellow. Parenting a child like her has been a challenge and we have learned as much about the world & ourselves from her, as she has from us. I can only hope like hell she keeps that clear strength and determination I see in her today. Nothing she says or does really shocks us, we know by now to expect the unexpected. She keeps us on our toes for sure! Neither of us are the parent going to school saying “my little angel couldn’t have…” – it’s more like “oh dang, well sounds like her style” and we handle it accordingly.

But NO little girl should carry shame or embarrassment because other kids act like barbarians. It isn’t her fault either, that the adults in her life that should have protected her are too busy trying to protect their own rear ends and jobs. And it is certainly NOT her fault that kids laid hands on her period!

It started out with the little things that we all tend to brush off. ‘So and so called me <insert insult>’ or ‘they pushed me in line’. She would come home bristling to let me know what happened and how she handled it. Several times it ended in upset calls to the school or the Superintendent on my part. Most of my time and attention was spent discovering the truth behind the tale and making sure Tornado was not punished for protecting herself if that was the case and she was indeed the victim…..and it often was the case. Had it not been for us keeping eyes on her at all times, they might have successfully painted her as a “troublesome” child or worse, she might have taken her life like two kids in our school system already have this year. In fact, the longer the bullying went on….the more she morphed into a child who was difficult at best and flat ‘defiant’ at worst. Did I mention she has a very low BS tolerance and somehow got the idea that life was supposed to be fair to us each equally….

She has always struck me as blunt, forthright, strong and outspoken – imagine my surprise when I realized she wasn’t handling it all as well as I thought. Or the horror when the details started flooding out.

She was assaulted multiple times, sexually molested, verbally harassed/threatened by what turns out to be over 20 children at the end of this time/story; and a group of boys would make sexually harassing comments to her, one even exposed himself to her. Three of our schools on this side of the mountain knew what was going on, the whole history and over a dozen adults who work at the schools as teachers, administrators or in other capacities have been involved at some point in the last 3-5 years – but have failed to act time & time again.One of the bus drivers involved actually took my children from my home with no intention of delivering them to the school.

The things these kids are saying to her leave me speechless. I’ve never heard such words or phrases come from the lips of my kids – little boys who already tell my daughter they will touch her when they want. Who even says things like that, let alone thinks it is okay to say to another child?!? Rather than sit taking abuse, my daughter is the type to go off on a rant and tell them off and that screechy note in her voice is what triggers the irritation in others (nails on a chalkboard some days – trust me). That becomes white noise to the adults and other kids after a short period of time and then, like the little boy who cried wolf, no one listens to her anymore. Only they never really paid attention in the first place. My little girl was screaming silently for help for way too long. Grown adults charged and trusted with the task of educating and caring for our children looked me right in the face and paid lip service then turned around and told my daughter it was “a tattle”. They clucked about how terrible it was and promised us they would take care of it but nothing ever seem to come of it. We believed them. No one helped me or intervened for me, my own mother blew me off whenever I would try to ask for help back then, I foolishly thought simply being involved and advocating for her was enough. There was never any video – for various reasons and excuses thru the last few years, or no one saw/heard anything (but they would investigate) or perhaps they already labeled her in their minds and she was simply ignored.

Whatever the reasons were, we put our foot down this year and early! Girls are especially vulnerable at this age and it shapes the way they view themselves and respond to the world for the rest of their lives. We met at the school for ‘campus court’ about her absences and I watched three grown adults act like fools. They denied the school district has any problems with bullying though it has become the focal topic of this county recently. They told me the 17 days Tornado had missed to that point were worse than any of the abuse she suffered. I laughed right in the lady’s face and told her flat out “No it’s not!!” – she was very offended and got huffy after that. The middle school resource deputy chimes in that under his careful watch there were no bullying issues and was offended we insinuated children were not safe at the school – he personally makes sure all the doors are secure…… (like that helped my daughter in this case). We attempted to explain Tornado’s story and the troubles we have faced but we were never able to finish a sentence. Of course none of the four school officials had anything to say when I mentioned Jazmine and Patrick – the two beautiful souls this same “exemplary” system has failed this year alone. The officials paused and it became quiet. then in loud intimidating tones came then you go to REAL court – where the judge will put one or both of us in jail for truancy.We said “Fine, thank you”, confident that with three years of documentation, assessments, counselors, and witnesses, we would ultimately prove school officials were being negligent in their duties to protect our children. Suddenly we will file assault charges on your daughter too….how petty and vindictive is that? We aren’t scared into submission and suddenly charges appear but you still refuse to produce the video?

I would venture to say it didn’t go well and we wound up in J.V. court, less than a week later facing truancy charges and now they are attempting to charge Tornado with assault. We narrowly avoided jail when we scraped up enough money for an Attorney who specializes in children’s law. Thank the heavens he moved his schedule around and appeared with us that day or we might have a different tale to tell right now. The school system showed up in force against my daughter and we likely would have been railroaded as so many others have before us. You wouldn’t believe the stories we have heard. They produced a video this time – 7 mins of a roughly hour long ride and it cuts out before you see the child in question kicking Tornado and her friend. If what I saw was assault, then throw every kid ever born into jail right now. In fact her little friend leans over and pinches the same kid my girl popped and he grabs her arm and lunges at her several times. All of them were laughing, none of them were hurt and yet since my daughter is “on radar” she is the only one singled out and told her fooling around was wrong. Did I mention that this was audio/video – in violation of their Constitutional rights, without parental consent/knowledge or posted notification signs on the bus? Or that I cannot find who our Title IX Coordinator is or if we even have one? I know we don’t have the cyber/bullying policy in the handbooks/agendas yet and that passed in 2012.

I even offered to have her serve a bus suspension in one case if the other children involved served the same……the superintendent and vice principal declined. It left her trapped and then the bullies started slipping under the seats to get to her without the driver noticing or sent younger siblings/friends to do it thinking (accurately) who would believe younger kids were bullying an older child? As an extremely logical child, she finds it hard to grasp the ever fluxing “social rules” in her peer group right now. Don’t get me wrong, my daughter is no loner….she tried out for and made her school basketball cheer squad for the last two years.

She will always be my little cheer girl. <3

She will always be my little cheer girl. <3

I’m sad that she lost that when we pulled her from public school because it was a major factor in repairing her confidence and it taught her so much. The value of practice and hard work, how it feels to cheer your team on from the sidelines, the camaraderie formed among your fellow cheerleaders. She however, does not, and never has bowed to popular, ‘social norms’. She doesn’t care what others think, she does what she believes is right or what she enjoys. She is likely to dress up beautiful for a girl’s day out with me as she is to throw down on Call of Duty with her brother. She doesn’t comprehend being judged on outer appearance and that makes her a target for the girls who are just getting to that point of social pressure in clothes, makeup, boys etc. I double dare you to call her short though. lol My girl is just not interested in it if doesn’t stimulate her mind or pique her curiosity. Yes, I know her coat has a few holes, no we don’t need you to donate one to us, she has THREE nice ones…..she just never wears them because that one is her favorite. It is soft and comfortable and perhaps not the height of fashion so they sneer. Most girls here won’t be caught dead without at least an hour prep work. At her first formal, she was one of the few not wearing makeup and not dressed in a ‘pageant’ dress that was far too revealing and mature for her.

I’ve spent the last few years hurting and anguished over the look I would see in those big blue eyes of hers, she was begging us for help from behind them. She wanted so bad “to be good” and “to be accepted” but couldn’t figure out how. The rules were different for her and they kept changing depending on who was involved. SHE alone was targeted and assigned a seat, after all, it is so much easier to seat Tornado separately than it would be to make all the other kids on the bus act like human beings. She didn’t understand why she got in trouble and the others did not and has drawn the conclusion it is because of some flaw/fault on her part. I’m most torn up about that fact.

You work so hard to instill rules, etiquette and personal responsibility in your children hoping they stick when you send them out into the world. Then you send them off to school to get an education, only to find out a great deal of what they are learning is so destructive, especially left unchecked and often it is too late once you figure it out. Puberty is already a mess of emotions, hormones and urges we don’t quite understand at the time and left without context or guidance kids get themselves into trouble. It’s scientific fact not moral judgement. We quite simply lack the finer points of acting civilized at that age and so tend to be lead by our emotional, chaotic side rather than our logic, critical thinking and problem solving one. As humans we crave interaction with others, acceptance, understanding, love and support. These kids are learning at a young age it is okay to abuse others and worse yet, a great majority are learning you either fall in with the bullies or you find yourself on the other side of the fence – a target yourself. Desperate for that social acknowledgement kids fall to peer pressure all the time and act out of character. They are young and most will hopefully learn from their mistakes and go on to be good adults. Many will not and still others will leave this world too soon, convinced it is an ugly, pain filled mess that will never end. The kids who are bullied face a lifetime of issues based on the destruction of their foundations – self-esteem, trust, compassion, honesty, friendships/relationship interactions. It leaves them piecing the shards of their tender hearts back together time & time again. It skews the way they see themselves and the world in more ways than we can imagine. But we can’t let the darkness win, we have to shine the light for all who are lost.

Our Family Motto/Mission Statement is: Learn your powers, then only use those powers for good not evil.

I can’t tell you how many times OrdinaryDad and I have summed up a parental session with “we are trying to teach you to use your powers for good, not evil”. LOL. It breaks the tension and reassures the child you are not trying to dismiss or censor them. It also reminds them that in this crazy, mixed-up life as long as we have each other and do our best to leave the world better than we found it, we can weather any storm. I hope they are both watching closely as we stand our ground and fight for them & what we believe in. If they learn to hold their own no matter what kind of pressure is applied I will be satisfied this lesson was worth the proverbial licks.

 

If you would like to share, learn more or help here are the links to all her sites:

 

Until we meet again, stay safe and be blessed my warrior friends.

 

Football, Seniors and other stuff…..

There they are. Our boys, our cheerleaders, our field and our P - last year for our seniors (the twins)

There they are. Our boys, our cheerleaders, our field and our P - last year for our seniors (the twins)

Man it was something else to sit in those stands tonight and be part of that game!! We won, hard fought and honorable 36-35. I won’t bad mouth a team who had such a heartbreaking slap dealt right as they were leaving to come here.

 

Randomness

So cleaning the house today with the kids it dawned on me that we ALWAYS make a bigger mess before it gets to the cleaned up stage. And cleaning with a cat in the house is very annoying. Can’t leave anything around or his fat butt wants to sit in it.

 

Hunkered up like he was gonna poop once which freaked me out………

My husband hid most of today and I just realized that he must have thought I was going to put him to work.

I’m wondering if I get this house organized what I will do with all my spare time.

It was Magic

I really enjoyed my kids today. Like REALLY enjoyed them. I am being forced to slow waaaay down and figure out how to accomplish my day and still keep her doing what she needs to do. I see things that I never knew about her, like she can do math instantly and visually in her head in a way that I admit I cannot.

My son was totally bummed because this girl he likes joined in with the crew on the bus that was hassling him today. He left the house in a freakin’ cutoff t-shirt this morning and flew under radar because he just kept his coat on. (yeah noted and I will be checking next time) Anyways he complained about being stuck wearing his coat all day because it is against dress code.

I totally talked him thru it and mentioned that wasn’t he just hanging out with this kid a while ago and ganging up with him? Maybe, just like us, they were having an off day and found something funny. If it had been someone else son, is it possible you might have joined in the laughter? You are mad, and rightfully so but think about it. He totally understood and I watched his spirits life immediately. I told him it wasn’t because you hated that person was it? No. So perhaps today you were the bug and not the windshield? 😉 Tomorrow it would be someone else unless HE made the big deal about it.

I assured him that the girl he has a crush on may very well not have any clue because he hasn’t spoken up and if she knew, she might not have joined in. Again another lift to his spirits and he smiled. I told him to relax and hit the bus like it was all good and sling back whatever was tossed and talk to her, since he knows her name now LOL.

Tornado and I did her work and hung out no issues today. She totally self started, kept focused and I held my word and did the art project even though I admit I didn’t feel like it at first. Who wants to smear peanut butter all over pinecones when it is cold and quickly getting dark out? So we do it. I lose my temper a time or two and yell but all in all it is pretty smooth. Had to refill the PB twice due to my inability to guesstimate how much you need for 6 of those stupid things and Tornado is rolling them in the birdseed all the while complaining about getting messy. Then she insists that she wants to put the twine on. Bubba had put a slipknot in all of them for us and we simply tightened it around the middle of the pinecone and then tied the free end to branches in various places in the yard. I had a little issue with a funny miscalculation of what happens to a hanging pinecone when the branch you bent way down is let go. Jeeze, you would think I would have thought that one thru a little LOL 😉 Unfortunately my oh so coordinated self managed to get these tiny little dark brown burrs all over my fuzzy Elmo pants. HEY, don’t judge me!! They are warm and comfy 😛

Tomorrow I reckon she will make me make good on the yoga deal. LOL. Yes I confess, I bribed her with an art project. And the scene in the yard with her on my shoulders, feet on my hips, standing up with her brother bracing her (after first chickening out and popping me right in the mouth with my own camera she was holding for me). It must have been hysterical to see but I didn’t care I was having some good old fashioned FUN. I might have swatted her for not paying attention but it was barely noted by her anyways. You’d have to whack that child with a sledgehammer I swear to get a reaction (and no I would never).

We took pictures of the sunset and covered her 4-H pine tree sapling with a garbage bag so the frost doesn’t kill it tonight. I sure hope those stupid chickens stay inside, they have taken to wandering down the bottom at night and it is freakin cold. If they frostbite themselves it will be ugly, like amputation ugly and this momma don’t play that. NO. Sorry, I’m not a surgeon and I’m not a vet. I have to draw the line somewhere.

We came back in and fell in love with Ravenswood and watched like three in a row up to the new one only to find out that they won’t have anything till January. *sigh* Hubby strolled in and sat and watched with us as we shuffled the kiddos off to bed. Bubba has been sleeping a LOT so we think he is hitting a growth spurt. I’m getting ready to feed him and flying high on this magical day. They don’t happen often and baby when they do, you can bet your ass this gal is smart enough to grab it with both hands!!

Peace, love and magic. Until we meet again, stay safe and be blessed my friends.

 

Chicken Funerals

So we had our first death among the chickens. It was a very sudden thing and she died very quickly. They are 7 months old and when we first got them from 4-H they told us there would be about a 20% mortality rate among the chicks. We also heard out and about, as we were gathering supplies or picking up feed, that one of the neighboring towns had gotten a bad batch and nearly all of them had died.

We’ve been so proud that all 12 hens and both roosters have survived and are laying. We have had to change a few things like wood shavings instead of straw and we need metal water/food containers instead of the plastic ones for the winter. We also put a tarp across the top to help insulate against the cold nights. We have learned quite a bit in the process of raising them as well. I have found it both fun and fascinating.

Twice so far we have had the dominant rooster we named Kellogg have his wattle pecked bloody. The first time it happened we did some research and came up with some stuff called Blue Kote. (we picked up a different brand from Tractor Supply but it does the same thing). It had antiseptic properties, helps numb the injury and covers the smell of blood so that the hens and other rooster don’t peck him to death. He healed so quickly the first time and we coated him a couple of times a few days apart.

Well when Ordinary Dad and I were out gathering eggs one morning and I looked down to see the back of my hand was covered in blood. Sure enough, Kellogg was bloody on his other wattle this time. We are pretty darn good at getting this done now without struggle from the chicken or getting ourselves stained blue in the process and we grabbed the blue junk and coated him. Now there are a few hens that seem to chase Kellogg around and pick on him but that stuff tastes nasty so we just throw him back in immediately and figure he is gonna be safe after they get a whiff of him.

Later that day I went out and checked the egg situation again and one of the hens was huddled in a nesting box. That usually means one is sitting on an egg or a few of them. So I tried shooing here but she wasn’t budging. I rolled her out of the way and then stopped short. She didn’t even respond. I rolled her the other way and then laid down the eggs in my hand. I picked her head up by the feathers on her neck and shook her gently. Her eyes barely cracked open and my heart jumped up in my throat. I hot tailed it inside to tell Ordinary Dad that I thought we had a dead chicken.

We went back out the check the situation out and decided she was definitely sick. We took her inside and put her in a box with some newspaper and set her up near the heater hoping she would get to feeling better. In the meantime I headed out to pick Tornado up from her detention. Bubba and I rode down, picked her up, ran some errands and headed back to her school to go to parent teacher conferences. After that was done we went over to Bubba’s school for open house and their bookfair.

On our way home, I warned Tornado what was up with one of her chickens. She of course got upset and when we got home she made a beeline to go check on her. Unfortunately I did not beat her to it and the chicken was dead. It was already too dark and cold to do anything about it that night but the smell was atrocious. We put the box in our toolshed until we could deal with it the next day.

Ordinary Dad got called out of town for one of our clients and didn’t get home until late. So that left me, Bubba and Tornado to do the honors. I am still in the sling for this torn rotator cuff so I cannot help dig the hole either. It was already dark when Tornado got home from her second detention and dad had run off to take care of stuff. We are all out there in the dark, I’m holding the maglight and the kiddos were digging the hole. Two shovels and a post hole digger later we finally have a small, round hole that is roughly a foot deep.

So I get the box and realize I forgot to grab some gloves and I figure it should be easy to lift it out with the shovel and put it in the hole. NOPE!! The darn thing was matted solid and so as my kids watched horrified I keep trying to scoop this corpse out of the box while trying not to burst into tears. LOL. Finally I get it and then the damn thing rolls off the shovel and falls with a thud into the hole. I look over to see my daughter’s lip quivering and her eyes wide as saucers. I sigh and try to gently rearrange the chicken neatly in the hole and that is when it all unraveled.

Without gloves, I was unable to set it at the bottom and so when I finally get it wiggled into place I notice that one leg is sticking straight up. At this point I am sure that I am going to scar all of us for life and I take the shovel and try to push the leg gently down. It isn’t working and the more I try the worse it gets. I’m jabbing desperately now in between apologizing profusely to my daughter and praying the damn thing will just freakin get in the hole already. FINALLY we get it decently settled and I drop the newspaper on top of it and tell them to start burying it. We flattened it down and said a few words over it. My daughter couldn’t find any flower but she put a handful of their favorite type of clover on the grave.

So, if this every happens again we will be doing it the first day it happens, in the light and with gloves so that the whole thing is not one horrible traumatizing event again.

She was very distraught when I spoke to her later and I pointed out that the chicken had a great life. Food and water on demand and a safe and cozy spot she didn’t have to worry about predators in. I explained that she at least died safe, warm and not pecked to death by the other chickens. She started to wail “She died with dignity….” it took everything I had to hold it together. It was so funny and yet I feel so sad for her.

We figure that when we coated the rooster’s wattle that the hen continued to peck at him, got a mouthful of that stuff and perhaps a piece of his wattle and it poisoned her. The stuff is heavy duty and it says not to use it on an animal that you intend to eat. It also has poison control warnings for touch/ingest/eyes etc. All of the other chickens are fine as well as both roosters. She was a very aggressive bird so it is highly likely that is what happened.

Tornado hasn’t really mentioned it since then but I’m hoping she isn’t too upset and I really hope that my parenting fail the other night didn’t scar her forever LOL – because that was just awful and funny and absurd all at the same time.

I will say one thing my friends, if you had told me when I was my son’s age, that I would live in the mountains of TN and have 4 dogs, 2 cats and a butt load of chickens I would have laughed right in your face. But I would not change it for the world.

Until we meet again my friends, stay safe and be blessed.

chicken crossed the road

Big Decisions ~ Tough Choices

So I’ve been talking with y’all about a job opportunity that has come up outside of the home. I’ll be honest, I’ve been agonizing over the whole thing since it came up. My immediate response was to get excited….very excited. And that was the first thing that made me pause. Due to past circumstances, I don’t “hope” for a lot of things; not getting attached before it actually happens ~ hurts less. Those who understand that need no further explanation, and those that don’t well it’s hard to explain it in that case….

So I had to figure out why I got so excited. Done. Then I had to assess the pros and cons as some of you recommended. That is when it got complicated.

I WANT this job. I could do this job and excel at it!! I might even be able to add insight into it and make the program stronger. I would be administrating the whole thing eventually. Also, I would be able to easily finish my degree since schooling is the perk of the job. No other benefits, but even the hours are not that demanding to start. Money is good too, I won’t lie. There has been this hunger to do this for a long time. Circumstances have pulled me twice, for two different reasons and at two different times, from this exact thing. I have a burning need to prove everyone wrong and finish what I started. I was unfocused and adrift at that time in my life, struggling with burdens I no longer bear and I take back to the task some wisdom and strength I would not have had either. I believe that will make my school experience mean something more important and vital to myself. I want to prove to MYSELF that I can do this too. Doubt is a powerful prison but it can be a powerful fuel as well. So that one is about me. What I want and need.

Then I turned consideration to my children. They have paid the price with me the last 5 years. The hell of step-parenting, my being so ill, the stress of so many family members gone for one reason or another. I’d be trading the complete and now unimpeded focus of my attention for their last chunk of time as kids, lose my last chance to do what we tried to do from the start and possibly lost the chance to help my daughter tame this wildness inside herself as well as fail my son breaking my own silent promise to him. He only has 5 years left and she only has 8. Time has taught me those will be gone before I know it, even if I’m paying close attention. Don’t they finally deserve my healthy attention? My not sick, not stressed, can participate daily attention?

You bet your ass that I have fought for them. You bet I took care of them day and night since they first drew breath. But I was a single parent for the first chunk – no choice but to work though it tore me up to realize other people were in essence raising my kids. I’ve been sick as hell to the point of nearly dying the last 6 years – like literally in the hospital every other month or so till about 7 months ago and now that I have the chance I was praying and begging for, am I going to throw it away or tend to my family? God knows D and I have talked about it since the boys left and we are determined not to make the same mistakes with Bubba and Tornado. Yeah…..the scales didn’t just tip there, they slammed down hard to the other side.

After that I thought on it a while. Not the choice I want to make, but the right choice I think. I was swaying towards not thinking it was a good idea. That I was being selfish if I chose myself over parenting again. I tried to go to school again for a while when my son was a baby. Got a full scholarship. It required a minimum of 10 hours of work on the newspaper on top of a full time school load. My son was in daycare centers and homes. We had several bad run ins. Yes, some of the places were fantastic but some people should not EVER be near children. I kept a close watch and popped in at odd times. I caught it each time and it tore me up each time. How could I keep subjecting my child to this?

I quit school again, got a day job and sent him to one of the best centers in the area. He loved it, loves them and even three years ago when we went back for my nephew’s funeral he remembered them and was happy to see them. They were more family than anything and that is a rare find. I’ve also worked at daycare centers and know what can happen. Bubba is too old now, but idle hands we have discovered with the older 3 are the devils plaything. So critical timing on him. Tordado, like I said earlier, is our challenge and if I don’t help shape this, I admit that it could be, more likely than not, disastrous left unchecked into her teens.

We are planning some day trips and stuff with them, as well as gathering camping gear now that we have a permanent storage solution. Less time with other people entertaining them with what kinds of things happen in a small town with bored kids, more time learning what it means to enjoy yourself and build roots with your family.

Then something came up that would send a much needed jolt of instant life into our business and we could be up and running easily. This would require my flexibility at home. An ability to run the home office we have created now that we had an empty room. We would instantly have two people in mind for employees and I would need to handle scheduling for them as well as the increase from our other thing. It would be time to get serious and start kicking butt and taking names. This would include a slower version of finishing my degree. A few classes here and there at night. Not the immediate gratification a fast hard push would have but a battle worth fighting.

We would also be building something the kids are both interested in. My son has the programming interest and Tornado is all over advertising and stuff. It is so fun to watch them developing their different levels of interest so differently from the boys. Had the three of them not lost their minds, they would each be in charge of a division with 1 -2 employees by now. Too bad, because that looks impressive, not to mention they would be making near triple anything they are going to be able to find on their own. They could be making bank and living in nice houses and such but they chose to struggle out there instead which is still hard for us to understand. We are trying to teach Tornado and Bubba as well because it doesn’t make sense to them and they have said as much, more than once.

Building this business back after all the hits we have taken is a battle worth fighting. Ordinary Dad did not push me at all. When I told him about my decision to turn the job down, he listened quietly to all my reasons and supported me. When, and only when, I directly asked him did he express his hope about the job and my wanting to stay here. Though he was the one that put my name up in the first place and brought news of it home. He would have supported me working if that is what I had wanted. And he supports my school desire too for me and for the benefit to our work. He wants what makes me happy and is secure enough to admit he hoped I would choose this, not only for me but for what we promised and dreamed together. So at the end of it, I am sorry to miss this chance ~ I got to see what I would be missing and that the dream I do have was what makes me happy all along. I would miss that if I didn’t understand dreams can change like people do. This is still my dream, it’s just not my most important one anymore. So I feel blessed and I guess I know what needs to be done. What has always needed to be done.

I am not going to rush it either by doing an online version. I will walk the campus, help with the business but first and foremost it is my job, my desire, my humble honor to take care of my kids and my husband. It isn’t my way is right, your way is wrong – it isn’t anything but an honest assessment of what the need not the want is and what is truly important at THIS moment in our lives.

the choice only YOU can make

the choice only YOU can make

Until we meet again, stay safe and be blessed my friends.