bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Posts tagged ‘son’

Who Would Have Thunk It?

All four of us were in the car, when out of the blue, Mark says, “You know, I realized that I don’t look people in the eye when I talk to them.  I need to work on that.”


A.  Who thinks that?

B.  Who states it out loud to his family? 

This kid surprises me just about every day.  He’s becoming more responsible, just when I’m expecting him to be less so.  He decided (on his own) to take charge of his robot-building team, because he thought they lacked leadership.  They needed someone to tell each person a task, and then follow-up on it.  He saw this, and made the decision to fill that void.  The team members were thrilled.

This is the kid that doesn’t (usually) want to put more effort into anything that he doesn’t have to.  Unless it is his web site or other computer-related activities.

He did his homework immediately after returning home from church.  Usually, he waits until 5 or 6 o’clock.

Who is this kid?  (And, if he’s not really Mark, let’s pretend I never brought this up.   I like this kid.  Whoever he is.)

Two Worlds Collide

We started Willy Wonka the Musical practice this week.  I am LOVING it!

Yesterday we did a workshop on defining our characters.  So, my son Augustus and I sat down to create a background for our family.  Here it is in a nutshell:  We are a wealthy German family, but I grew up poor and was often hungry.  So when I married Augustus’ dad I promised myself that Augustus would never be hungry.  That’s why I feed him all the time.  My goal in life is to make sure Augustus is happy.  What’s so wrong with that?  🙂

While my stage son and I were talking, I asked him where he went to school.  Turns out he goes to the same school Mark does.  And, he’s the same age as Mark.  And, yes, he knows Mark.  We had that moment of wide-eye opening, “You’re kidding!!!” looks.  Then, I was faced with a dilemma.  Do I ask if he likes Mark?  Or do I let it go?

Have you ever known me to let something go?  Of course I asked him!  He said, “Yeah.  I think he’s funny!”  Whew.  Mark said he thought they had PE and maybe drama together in 6th grade, but no classes together last year. 

So, my two sons know each other!  Weird…

Teaching a Teenager New Tricks

Seriously.  I’m sure I’m not alone on this one.

My son is now 13 and an excellent student.  Normally, he does his homework without any problems or help.  Sometimes, he will ask us to check his answers, or ask for clarification of a question, normal stuff like that. 

Aside from Pre-Algebra, that is.  Math not being his strong suit, he struggles to understand the concepts, formulas, etc.  Fortunately, he has Tom and me to help him out.  I’m a freak of nature that actually loves to do Algebraic equations.  He brings his work home, and I’m all over it.  Freak.  I’m aware of it.  Let it go.  Oh, and the teaching abilities of his teacher are in question.  Mark is not alone in coming home and not having a clue what is going on.  Then, when I try to explain it to him (in the way I was taught), I get the comment I dread, “That’s not the way Mr. Educator does it.”  Even though, he doesn’t have a clue what Mr. Educator does do, it sure ain’t what I’m doing.  (And, no, his name is not “Mr. Educator.”  Duh.)  Oh, and apparently, there is a THIRD method, which is what the book teaches.  So, as I explained to Mark yesterday, “You can either do it my way or Mr. Educator’s way.  But, you don’t know how to do it Mr. Educator’s way, and he’s not here.  Your choice.”  Surprise, Surprise.  He went with my way.

But, that is not what this blog is really about.  It’s about thinking for himself.  Last night he came and asked me what Puerto Rico’s relationship is with the US.  Uh, well, you see…(Look, I know Puerto Rico is a commonwealth.  That’s it.  And, I got that from some teaching game Mark had when he was little.  I took Geography on Pass/Fail in college.  You get the drift.  Not my strong suit.)  So, I tell him so.  (Not about the college thing.  I don’t want him to know there is such a thing as Pass/Fail.  Not yet.)  I said, “Yeah, well, you know, geography and government are not my strong suit.  I really don’t know anything about it.  Sorry.”  He then sat there outside my room and just looked at me.  I said, “What are you doing?” 


“For what?” 

 “For help.” 

Now, Tom was at a meeting, and he most likely knew enough to help Mark out, but he wasn’t there.  So, I said, “Well, I told you I don’t know anything about this.  I can’t help you if I don’t know anything.” 

Still sitting there.  “Mark, what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know what to do.”

Okay.  I’m about to blow a gasket.  But, instead I turn my attention to my daughter, who has been practically ignored since she got home from school because of the Pre-Algebra help session going on in our kitchen.  He finally left.

Now, when I was in school, (geez, I sound like an old geezer.  “In my day…”) if we didn’t know something we looked it up in the encyclopedia.  (I didn’t even have a full set of encyclopedias.  I had to go to the neighbor’s house to borrow hers.  And, it was uphill.  Both ways!)  Kids have it so easy now.  They can look it up on the internet.  But, what killed me was that he didn’t even think to do that.  He was stuck after he heard the words, “I can’t help you.” 

I know I’m a near genius, and he should expect me to know all things, but once in awhile concepts slip past me, and I miss something.  Seriously, this just blew my mind.  Was I honestly supposed to say aloud “LOOK IT UP!”?  I don’t think so.  This kid is so internet-friendly, I’m surprised he bothered to even ask me. 

After I took Karen to dance, I came home and asked him if he had found the answer to the question.  He said, “Yeah.  I looked it up in the book.”  Genius.

Back in Time

I’m alive and well and still living in the suburbs.  I’ve had some ups and downs since my last post, but lately I’ve had some down times, but that’s another post altogether.  This is a much happier post. 

Last night, my husband was digitally converting his record albums.  (Kiddies, that was a piece of vinyl that preceded .mp3s and even cds!)  So, we were listening to Bruce Cockburn.  And, Tom read out loud, “Hey, Bruce Cockburn wrote and sang the “Franklin” theme song.”  I said, “I doubt that.  This guy doesn’t seem the “Franklin” type.  Where are you getting that?  Wikipedia?”  He admitted he was.  I scoffed and started my own search.

I googled “Franklin theme song” and, of course, youtube had it.  Sure enough, the guy singing sounded just like Bruce Cockburn.  Who knew?  

Mark was across the hall, heard it and came running in and slid right next to me with this big grin on his face and said, “FRANKLIN!”  So, we watched and listened again.  Mark said, “I always liked Fox.”  I said, “You know, that always bugged me about this show.  How come Franklin is the only one that wears clothes?  And how come Franklin is named “Franklin,” but everyone else has names like “Fox,” “Bear,” “Snail,” and “Beaver”?”  We laughed and laughed.  Next to the youtube video, there was a link to “Bear in the Big Blue House.”  Mark and I got excited and clicked on it.  Tom said, “Oh, is that “Little Bear”?”  Mark and I rolled our eyes.  Like “Little Bear” was even like “Bear in the Big Blue House!”  Please.  We kept looking up old Nick Jr shows, and giggling and “oh, I loved this show”-ing. 

We were obviously not helping Tom enjoy his album, so we went across the hall to Mark’s room to watch and listen to more.  We had such a great time.  We even got into giggle fits watching them in different languages. 

As his bed time neared, I found myself wishing that it wouldn’t come.  I wanted time to stand still just for a few more moments.  I was sitting next to my soon-to-be 13 year old and having such a great time.  Sharing a moment that I truly feel we will look back and remember.  He really wanted to be with me.  I realized that this will not always be the case.  In the near future, I will be such a dork instead of kooky and fun.

But, for now I’m his kooky, fun mom who is more than happy to spend an hour giggling and reminiscing.  And hopefully making more memories for us to share 13 more years down the road.

Oscar the Grouch Welcome Here!

Oh my gosh.  I just spent an hour in the basement cleaning up my daughter’s side.  It was supposed to be a classroom for her to pretend to be a teacher.  But, trust me, this property would be condemned, if it were. 

I lugged out: 2 trash bags of trash, 1 bag of stuff for charity, and a large box of recycling items. 

The problem is…you can hardly tell I did anything!

Now, if I had asked her to do it, it would have been a disaster because she would have cleaned about 15 minutes and then start playing, thinking it was done.  Plus, she would have saved a lot that I threw away.  Papers, awards, papers, notebooks, papers, glue sticks, and more paper.  Geez!  I thought I had a paper problem!

My son’s side of the basement is entirely Legos.  He and his friend build towns and then shoot movies with the them.  Pretty cool.  But, he doesn’t want to put them in boxes or sort them or anything like that.  He just spreads them out on the floor so that he can see what he has.  I’m fine with that.  If I asked him to clean it up, he could just scoop up all the Legos and put them in bins until the next time he wanted to use them.

Of course, my husband’s section of the basement is very tidy.  Well, for a workshop, anyway.  He’s got stuff where he wants it.  And, can probably find it when needed.

My section is somewhat organized.  Right after my stay in the loony bin I got a bee in my bonnet (what’s that phrase about?) to start cleaning stuff up and out.  So I had these shelves that we just jam-packed with stuff and I had no idea where to find anything other than Christmas stuff.  That holiday has it’s own shelf.  Now, that is all pretty organized.  I have had some stuff spill out of there into the adjoining section that is considered “common ground” and I really should get around to picking through it or finda place for it all.  But, until then, I’m good with it.

So, now I’m sitting here, taking a break, in front of the box fan, just waiting to cool off enough to take a shower.

But, let this serve as a warning.  If ANYONE reading this blog buys my daughter any more “School Stuff,” prepare for the Wrath of ZUZU!!!!  Unless, of course, it is an industrial strength vacuum cleaner.

A Lesson in Expenditures

Today my son is hosting a Wii party.  This consists of having a few friends over to play multiplayer Wii games.

Before this get-together was allowed, I had him write down what he was planning, what he expected of me, and when he anticipated this would occur.

He did a great job.  We sat down and talked about the number of people.  He and his best friend are co-hosting this party and had decided on inviting 3 more people.  They even had a list of who would be their first choices.

Then we negotiated on the length of the party.  Holy cow, that kid thought they could spend the whole day here.  Did he forget his mom is bipolar and could snap at any minute?  No, not really, but his time was unrealistic, even to the mentally stable.  😉  So, we negotiated down to 4 hours.  (Which, honestly, I thought was WAY more than was needed, but since it’s a once-a-summer deal, I agreed to it.)

Then came my terms.  He must leave the family room and kitchen exactly as they looked when the party began.  He quickly agreed.  I said, “And no blaming someone else for a mess or spill.  That is still your responsibility to clean up.”  “No problem,” he said.

After we agreed on the terms we both signed and dated the contract.

A couple of days later, I told him that I would give him $10 to buy the snacks he wanted.  So, this morning, (the day of the party), we headed off to the grocery store.  It was very interesting to see what he purchased.  His best friend had requested Tostitos with Lime and root beer.  Vess root beer was 99 cents, but Mug root beer was $1.49.  He decided that the Mug might taste better.  Then he picked up a 2-liter of Coke.  When he got to the chips, it was not such an easy decision.  He noticed that the Tostitos his friend wanted were not on sale, and he couldn’t find a price.  I told him to go ask a cashier to tell him what it was.  He came back with a price of $3.49 or something like that.  He was surprised it was so expensive.  Then, he chose his favorite snack, Munchies.  He said he had a quarter left, so he was good.

When we went to check out, we went to the self-scan (always our first choice.  I guess I get to fulfill my dream of wanting to be a cashier at a grocery store.).  He scanned the Tostitos.  Then, he scanned his Munchies.  They were $4.49.  I pointed this out to him.  He looked confused.  I knew what had happened.  He had seen a sign that said they were on sale, but he had picked up the wrong size.  So, I sent him back to decide what he wanted to do.  He stood in the aisle for quite awhile before I went to help him.  Just as I got there, he realized what had happened.  He stood with the much smaller bag in his hand and decided to not get them.  (Now he knows why I rarely buy them.  They are expensive and he eats them like there is no tomorrow.)  I pointed out that there were chips for $2.  He seemed excited about that and then chose Cheetos Puffs.  I then said, “You know you could get another bottle of soda.  You have enough money left.”  He was thrilled and came back with Dr. Pepper.

I was very pleased with how this all went down.  Sometimes kids need to know how much things cost and why we don’t buy stuff just because we like it.  He did a great job of getting a variety of snacks, and we’ll see how much is left after all is said and done.

Right now, I am hearing lots of kabooms and excited yelling.  (No inside voices here.)  I have no idea what they are playing, but I’m going with Mario Kart.  So, if the sound of this party is too loud for you, regardless of where you live I’m sure you’ll hear it, just know that you can remove your earplugs at 5:00.

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