17 April 2014

My Hero

It has been some time since I've written. I keep coming up with various topics to write on, but then life gets in the way. I am not surprised that having a 12-year-old in our life has made my life busier. In fact if it didn't make my life busier I would be worried that I was a neglecting mother.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in class listening to the kids. Every week they have a student of the week called the "Superhero." The teacher I work with had decided not to do a student of the week. It wasn't that there weren't deserving kids, but it had been so busy. The previous superhero had left the cape at home and forgotten his "About Me" paper. As she was explaining one of the kids yelled out, "But what about Little Miss. Will she get to be superhero?" The other kids joined in. Basically chanting that Little Miss should be the superhero for the week. The teacher agreed and she got everything set up for Little Miss.

The entire first grade gets together and all of the teachers announce their superheros for the week. The child then goes to the front and collects a prize and certificate. The teacher and I were worried that Little Miss wouldn't want to get up and it might cause a scene as the kids try and encourage her up while she fights back. When the teacher called Little Miss, she stood up immediately and hurried up to the front where she got her certificate and pencil.

The next week she would occasionally put on the cape and call herself Batman, or Robin as she twirled around.

Little Miss is autistic and will never live on her own. I am pretty sure she doesn't know exactly what the Superhero means, but she knows she has watched nearly every other student in the class wearing the cape. What really got to me was the fact that it was the other students in the class who really wanted her to get it. It wasn't something the teacher planned to teach the class an important message. It was something the kids themselves knew was important.

I love working at the school. These kids are good kids.

04 April 2014

A Perfect Parent?

The last two days, Moose and I attended a conference put on by the Utah Foster Care. The main reason we went was it was a quick way to get hours for our re-certification. Now we are already planning on going to next year's if they have it again.

There were two speakers. The first was Dr. Laura Bennett-Murphy. She works here in Utah with children who are from refugee families and endured severe trauma. Let's just say that I needed the tissues I brought. There were several points that really stood out to me. The first is that as a parent there are times that when my child loses hope, I can still hold on to it and reassure them that behind the storm clouds, the sun is still there and it will be back. I also loved the idea that children will get frustrated and mad with me as a parent. Even when they are yelling at me and telling me that I am stupid or they wish I was dead that they still love me. (And now for the cute picture she showed.)

Thursday's speaker was Daniel J Siegel, MD. Moose and I had to slip our an hour early and we were so disappointed not to hear it all. What he talked about was the Adolescent brain. 12-24 is the age of adolescence. They are neither child nor adult and knowing what is actually going on in their brain can help adults teach them. It was amazing. We sat in rapture from 9 until we had to duck out at 3. We spent the entire drive home talking about how things are now starting to make sense.

Tech is 12 but we can already see how the things Siegel talked about apply to our situation. He has a book out called Brainstorm that is written for both an adult audience and for an adolescent audience because adolescents don't always know why they do why they do but if they know how their brain works it gives them power over themselves.

Moose and I have ordered the book and I will do a review when I read it, but I can already tell you that I am going to love it.

What really stuck with me that both speakers emphasized was the fact that parents will occasionally flip their lids. Both speakers admitted to the fact that despite all of their education, training, experience, they still get frustrated. The fact of the matter is that it will happen, but as adults we need to repair the situation after it happens. That is what makes a good parent.

Maybe Moose and I have a chance at doing okay after all.