Hello friends... I have good news. Geoff managed to get through a whole week at school without me having to get a phone call from the office saying "Please come get your boy." And for that, I'm exceedingly thankful and proud of him.
Geoff has had me under such immense stress that I can't hardly deal with day-to-day activities like doing laundry, cleaning myself, going to work. I've been a mess.
A bunch of you have dropped emails and comments and asked what gives, but hey. Sometimes I have to stick my head in the sand (or up my ass!) and hide.
Combine The Boy with money issues, some stress stuff at work which I have no control over and can't talk about here for all the good reasons, Doug's job search, I just have had the worst time for the past couple of months and it really started to get totally out of hand right before we went to Pittsburgh for the wedding.
I won't get into any of some of the stuff Geoff has done or said because I want to actually forget it, not put it down for posterity's sake. I want to forget things ever happened and just move on with my life.
So getting through a week without seeing the school's number on my cell phone, wow. That's amazing. And a relief.
Praise God for the little victories, right?
I will write about this. One of the things we had to do this week was something I didn't WANT to do and I've been fighting against since the beginning of the school year.
We put Geoff in a special education van transport instead of letting him ride the bus.
As many of you know, Geoff has a rough time on the bus. His own behavior, his inability to deal with the other kids' behavior, his misinterpretation of what is said to him, the noise, the unsupervised environment, the fact that the end of day is just a time where he's out of control and can't self-regulate... all these things have led to critical mass where he can't be on the bus in the afternoon. So the school made it clear to us it was time, and we had to comply.
Break down and comply.
Because we have not been able to get him to get it and do what is required of him.
There are a lot of pros and cons to this.
- Geoff now has a much shorter bus commute of around four minutes instead of almost twenty.
- There are a lot fewer people (bus driver, Geoff and 2 other boys)
- There is music instead of rowdiness.
- When he turns 12, he can actually ride in the front seat, which is pretty boss.
- He gets dismissed 5 minutes before the rest of the class, so he avoids the abject chaos of dismissal time which seems to start him on a downward spiral into uncontrolled insanity.
- He knows the bus driver. In fact, I had no idea she would be his driver until the day after he delivered Boy Scout Wreaths that she ordered from him to her house. I'm hoping that the connection they have will result in him being a little more respectful and understanding.
- He's afraid that he'll be seen as a "retard." He thinks the other kids are going to laugh at him, and that he is socially ostracised from his peers. But in reality, the other kids don't really know unless he tells them. Which if he does, he'll have to deal with their reaction. Kids aren't as brutal as they were when I was 11. Most of them don't give a damn whether you ride a van home or you get a ride home with your mom. They just don't care.
- He feels he is being punished and he wants a second chance. He feels that his behavior ON the bus has been great, which it has... but his behavior at the bus circle at release time is what got him into this situation.
There are a couple hundred kids out there, and Geoff running around like crazy and after 10 chances he just doesn't get it that he is going to be hurt or hurt someone else by his actions. He's not retarded. He is just immature, and right now his immaturity is going to result in injury.
So he feels he's being "punished" when really what is being put in place is a stop gap solution until he has the maturity to line up and act normal. Which will hopefully be next year at middle school.
He begged me not to do this to him. Begged for a "second chance." He said "Okay, I get it. I totally get it! I will behave at dismissal. I will behave in the bus circle. Please don't do this to me..." and he cried.
And he pushed me to crying, in front of the assistant principal.
I had to tell him that he had more than a second chance. He's had 50 chances... we can't give him a 51.
He accused me of doing this to "make life easier for the school teachers and administration." He's one smart cookie, isn't he.
Thing is, he is right. A lot of times schools refuse services or force people into things because, yeah... it's easier on the school and not really in the best interest of the child. But in this case -- it was and is in Geoff's best interest.
I think, whether he realizes it or not, this is the best for him and for others and ... for me.
I cannot afford private transportation. I don't have family who live in town who can swing by and go pick him up. I'm about 40 minutes away at dismissal time due to traffic, and I can't leave work every day at 2pm to go up and get him. I don't have the kind of job where I can work the rest of my 3 hours of work day at home. I wanted that, I never got it, and I'm never going to. That's the end of that. And unless I don't work there, which will of course result in us losing our house, there is no other option.
He wants to walk home from school... it's a doable option... but thing is it's winter almost and there is no way I'm going to have him walk a mile and a quarter in the cold. Maybe in the spring. Maybe then we'll set it up so he can walk home. I also don't want him walking alone. I want him walking with a buddy or two. So I'm going to check out a few people who live nearby who may be likeminded. Last year my friend Suzanne's son walked 2 miles to and from school with his best friend in the spring because they wanted more exercise. I think it's a great idea. Geoff thinks I think he's a little baby. I don't -- I just don't want him alone.
It isn't that I don't trust him, I don't trust the rest of the world.
So yeah. It's been a hell of a ride here since the end of football season. And I'm hoping things start to brighten.
If this week is any indication, I think it is.
In conclusion, I know this is probably flat out boring yawn fest to some of you. "That's what you get for being a breeder," right? Yeah. That's what I get. I know. I wanted kids. I love my kids. And whinging about them on the intertoobs is hardly entertaining. So apologies to those of you who come here for something insightful or interesting. Our regular programming will resume eventually.
It also may explain to some of you who feel I'm always there for you why I haven't been. Yes, your lives suck. Suck really bad. And yes, I'm usually the one who will hold your hand and tell you that it's going to be okay. I honestly believe it will. But if I've been distant, or unsupportive and you feel I've been kind of a bitch or cold, well... my perfect fucking life isn't exactly perfect. Is it. No. So be patient with me. It'll get better and soo enough I'll be there to listen a little harder, answer more emails, give that shoulder and possibly make you laugh. It's not about me not liking you or wanting to be with you. It is just about me needing to fix some things here. Please don't take it personally.
I'll leave you with this:
And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well...
That's a mantra I've stolen from Keri. And one I will be repeating to myself. Make it your ongoing prayer, apply it, and hang in there. Okay?