Friday, August 22, 2014

The "Bro" Code

This morning I happened to see Colin's trombone by the front door and asked my eldest if there were Jazz Band tryouts today. He replied that there might be. I followed up with "Is Colin trying out today?" to which the reply was "You don't need to know".

I stopped my line of questioning and continued to get ready to go to work.

Later this morning my husband called to see how the morning went. He was still in bed when we all went out the door. I told him about the "trombone incident".

Hubs has surmised that our two older boys have been told by their baby brother to not tell us about his activities. My 16 year old had relayed this recently to his dad.

I have noticed my middle son getting testy when I asked how Colin was doing in school. His standard reply has been, "I don't know and I don't care!" I have found this response troubling until put into the context of "The Bro Code" this morning.

I guess I will operate under the "Need to Know" principal and expect that I will be told about school when I need to know.

I'm oddly o.k. with this.

As always.....

We are a Work-In-Progress!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Detachment Parenting

Another week and more progress is being made. All the baby steps seem to be adding up. The key to our success is ignoring our son for most of the day. If Colin needs something, he will ask, otherwise we are best served to avoid eye contact and uninitiated conversation. I call this method of parenting, "Detachment Parenting".


Last Sunday, my eldest took his brother to Freshman Orientation at their High School. The other 9th graders were accompanied by their parents.My eldest, who is a senior,  offered to bring his brother as knows his way around the school and has a much better relationship with Colin than with me and my husband. This worked like a charm.

Colin was not only able to meet his teachers, he decided he wanted to participate in several activities. In the course of an hour or so, he made mention of wanting to join Jazz Band, try Cross Country, Swim Team (for the exercise, and only at school, not the Y team), and maybe even Ultimate Frisbee.
These are all the activities his big brother is in.

During the week, Colin went to Cross Country practice with his brother and has since joined the team. So much for the kid who was not going to do any extra-curricular activities.

Chalk one up for "Detachment" and  letting Big Brother be the parent.

It's All on How You Ask The Question

Friday Night, I had made plans to visit a friend who I haven't seen for a while. My husband needed to go out of town to visit his parents and the older boys were scheduled to work. I thought Colin might want to come along with his puppy as my friend is a photographer who lives on a "farmette" with alpacas.

I called home to see if hubs would ask our son if he'd like to go. This was met with a "STFU". I decided to try my hand at this when I got home.

Instead of asking Colin, I told Sumter that I was taking him to meet another dog to play with. As I was talking with our puppy while my son was within earshot, Colin chimed in. "If my dog is going, then so am I!"

Mission accomplished. We had a nice visit, Sumter had a chance to burn some excess energy, and Colin was able to get off his computer and out of the house for a bit.


Saturday Night Fire Pit

I promised my middle son that he could build a fire pit in our backyard and invite some friends over for a Smores and Game Night at our house. This is how I get our house cleaned up. All three boys pitched in and created a respectable fire circle that even Dad was impressed with!

After chores were done, we went to the grocery store and picked up pizzas, snacks and all the fixin's for Smores. Colin helped with the cleaning and later hung out back for a bit with the teens.

The laughter and social activity was just what the doctor ordered!

Sunday Visit at Aunt "P"s

It had been two weeks since we visited with my sister and her family. They had just gotten back from vacation on Saturday. Colin, Sumter and I went out for a visit on Sunday afternoon. The dogs ran wild and we lounged poolside for a bit. My sister had commented how Colin seemed to be much more relaxed around me and that there was a noticeable improvement made over the last few weeks.

Another point for "Detachment Parenting"!

Quiz Bowl Boot Camp & Shopping for School

Monday and Tuesday, in addition to morning cross country practice with his oldest brother, Colin decided to partake in yet another activity in the evenings with his 16 year old brother. There is a team for "In The Know" which is a competition similar to Jeopardy, only with teams.

I acted as a chauffeur, and pretended to have little interest other than getting the boys to and from. We also were able to stop for school supplies on the way home. I made a point to stay 20 paces behind the boys and let them fill the cart. Unlike past years, price was no object.

Tuesday night we went to Macy's and then Target. Colin needed dress pants and dress shoes for school. Nothing like "just-in-time" shopping. I started with the boys department at Macy's. I instructed my 16 year old that his brother needed to find pants and dress shirts first before we went down to the men's department for a few items my middle-son wanted. I said I'd be waiting at the counter to pay.

This "detachment" thing seems to be working. Colin found two pairs of pants and four dress shirts. We then were able to have just enough time before closing for my 16 year old to find a pair of pants and two polo shirts.

We then went on to Target and Colin found a pair of dress shoes and another pair of pants. I took the boys to Wendy's on the way home.

Once back home, I quietly celebrated and gave my husband a look at our successful trip. No idea of what I spent and neither of us cared. This is priceless!
New School Clothes for Colin

Today was the first day of school, which seems to have gone off without a hitch!

We are a work-in-progress!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Getting Ready for BTS - The Week in Review

Little by little, we are having moments of progress. There are just a few weeks before school starts. I started taking the puppy to work in preparation. Colin continues to go to bed a bit later than we'd like and as a result has been sleeping late. While the older boys have been helping out, hubs suggested that I start getting Sumter used to going to work with me.

It's been a full week now and I have a routine down. I have a large kennel under the front table where the pup spends most of the day. Between potty breaks every couple of hours, lunch and a 1/2 mile walk, and working on some afternoon floor-time by my desk (until he misbehaves), the hours fly by. It is harder to find free-time to blog. I decided to take a few moments before going to bed.


Saturday Visit to Aunt "P"s

Due to Sumter's recent ear surgery (to create scar tissue as a prevention for further hematoma) and having to wear the "cone of shame" for a while, it had been a few weeks without a visit to my sister's house. Puppy got his stitches out Monday of last week and I took the cone off on Friday. Sumter was in need of some playtime with other dogs, as well as a long-overdue bath.

We had a nice visit. Colin and I swam laps with Aunt "P" while Sumter played with his dog-cousin Otis and two of his friends. Afterwards, Colin was able to use the lower level steam shower to bathe his dog after his romp.

My sister and her friend invited us to go with them to see a movie, "Guardians of the Galaxy". Colin was interested in going but I didn't want to push our luck. We had a pup who needed to go home and I did not want to overstay our welcome. Sometimes less is more. We left at dinnertime after a peaceful afternoon by the pool.

When we were close to home, Colin asked if I wanted to go to Subway for dinner. I was not in the mood but since he asked nicely, I offered to stop and let him get a sandwich. I gave my son some cash and stayed in the car with the dog while he went in to purchase his dinner. He came back with his sandwich, handed me the change and we returned home.

I decided to take a moment to soak in the victory of achieving a fairly "normal" day with minimal "shushes".

Annual Doctor's Visit, Tour of School

We also ticked off a few more tasks / milestones this week.

On Monday, Colin and his 16 year old brother had their annual exams at the pediatrician. Colin was due back in March so he was a few months behind. Dad took the boys and much to my relief, the visit was largely uneventful. The doctor was pleasantly surprised at the difference in Colin since his last visit a year ago, when he was dragged in against his will. (exam for referrals due to his sound-induced rages). This time our son was well-behaved, although a bit subdued.

Tuesday was the tour of the all-boys high school that our other boys attend. After the tour, Colin had an interview with the Dean which went well. He was accepted as a Freshman and will need to take a math placement test next week. Records are being sent from the middle school. Things are falling in place, just in time!

Yesterday (Wednesday), Dad and the two older boys left for a 3-day college visit tour, leaving me alone with Colin and Sumter. So far, interaction with my son has been minimal. When I've asked about dinner or other mundane issues, I've been met with shut-ups.  I've decided to enjoy the silence and leave my son to his own devices, knowing that he will ask me if he needs anything. He is fully capable of making his own meals.


For the Dogs

Today (Thursday), I decided to take Sumter to a monthly local event for dogs to get his nails trimmed and to socialize with other dogs. I invited Colin as I thought he might want to bring his camera and take pictures. Instead I was met with a "shut-up" so I left him at home. As I was driving to the dog-event, it dawned on me that Colin might be afraid of running into former classmates which might require an explanation of why he left his school mid-year. I was disappointed that he did not choose to come with us, but I understood why he might not wish to be seen.

Puppy and I had a nice time. I bought Sumter a bow-tie from a booth that Colin and I visited a year ago. The business owners have two Great Danes that Colin took photos of last year during our visit which I had forwarded on. When I reintroduced myself as the owner rang up my sale, she told me that she remembered Colin and have used the photos for their website. She alerted me to a photo contest they are having.

Upon our return home this evening, I sent Sumter down to the basement to show off his new accessory. Colin perked up upon seeing the bow-tie, and seemed interested when I mentioned the contest. It was the first time tonight I was not met with a shut-up!

It is now waaay past my bedtime. We seem to be moving in the right direction. I continue to not look too far into the future but am hopeful as things are falling into place.

As always.... We are a Work-In-Progress!