Friday, September 25, 2015

Driving Mr.Colin

It seems like lately I've become a bit of a chauffeur to Colin; my mini van his suburban stretch limousine. My car has the stow-n-go seats and I typically have the middle row stowed below for extra transport and storage space. Most days the back bench seat is reserved for taking Sumter to daycare.

Yesterday Colin was running late and told his brother to leave without him. When I got back from my early morning walk with the dog, I was told to hurry up. I quickly got ready for work, put my makeup on and had Sumter hop in the back with Colin. Off we went, with Colin stressing about getting to school late. I remained silent as we pulled up at 7:30, pretty much on time. Even though the pup's leash was attached to a seat belt he managed to get out of the car. Fortunately I was able to coax him in with a treat so Colin could get to his locker with plenty of time to spare.

The afternoon was another trip down to school to pick up my son as his brother had play practice followed by a piano lesson. Colin hopped in the car and seemed to be in a good mood. Turns out he wasn't feeling in great shape so he skipped cross country practice and went to his quiz team practice instead.

He asked about his puppy and I told him we were going to pick up Sumter on our way home. He then started to tell me about a video game he wanted. "It's only $15...." I asked about it and my son was more than happy to tell me all about a game called "Counter Strike Global Offensive" by Valve Corp. He described it to be similar to Call of Duty and it has been around for awhile. Apparently some of his friends at school are into it.

That's all I needed to hear. I told him that it should be o.k. but he needed to ask his dad.

Once we picked up Sumter and headed home, Colin fell asleep in the car. He was pretty groggy and went right to sleep on the couch once inside our home. After taking care of the dog, I also took a nap. At 8:00 p.m., Colin woke up in a panic. He yelled out, "Oh No!"  "Why did you let me sleep so long!" I think he thought it was morning and that he was going to be late for school.


Different day, same start. Colin had a hard time getting ready for school and I ended up having to drive him. This time I arranged for hubs to get the dog to daycare. We were concerned that Colin may have been up late playing his new game. As we were heading out, I asked if he had bought the game yet. Turns out he needed to ask his dad some questions so no, he did not purchase it with his pre-paid Visa card that dad gave him.

Colin told me a bit more about the game. After a few moments of silence, I pushed my luck and asked another question. "Is there a game tonight?" to which he replied with a "Shush!" That was my cue to be quiet. I was silent the rest of the ride.

I pulled up and opened the door at the drop off point, Colin made it to school on time. Another fairly successful trip. Truth be told, I don't mind the drive. It gives me that chance to be in the same space as my son for a brief period. Something I did not know would be possible in the not-to-distant past.

As always, we are a work-in-progress!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

An Apology of Sorts

Last night I wanted to finish Colin's laundry from the night before. I had a bucket of whites. He was in the shower so I loaded the washer and waited for him to get out of the bathroom.

As he was finishing up, I knocked on the door and asked for any additional whites he might need laundered.
I made one last attempt when he was in his room. I was shushed and told to go away both times. I heeded his warnings and started the machine with what was already loaded.

Later that evening, while the clothes were in the dryer, Colin was upstairs again to talk to his brother. On the way back down the stairs, he poked his head into the loft area where I was watching t.v.

He mumbled something about being stressed-out about some classwork , which is why he did not want to answer my questions earlier.

I told him that his clothes should be ready to be taken out of the dryer. I swear I heard him mutter "Thanks."

Hard to tell. I do think he was trying to be conciliatory. Another bit of progress, for which I am grateful.

As always, we are a work-in-progress!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Change of Pace

This has been a busy weekend with an interesting development.

Friday Night Lights 

Friday capped off a largely uneventful week, other than I've had to drive Colin more than normal due to a few scheduling conflicts. By Friday, I felt like a well-seasoned taxi driver with a record of four round trips in one day to the High School.
Trip 1: Boys running late and Middle Brother did not have enough time for drop off on his way to his morning off-campus classes.
Trip 2: Pick up after school. Colin had cross-country practice and his brother had to go to a piano lesson.
Trip 3: Drop Colin off to his school's Friday Night Football Game. This theme was "Black Out" where the clothing was to be all black. My son looked like a ninja other than his black & white striped knit cap. (he couldn't find his black one).
Trip 4: Pick up from football game

The benefit to all this driving is that Colin has been more chatty lately and I get to learn more about school. The most interesting tidbit is that he wants to start wearing his glasses again as he realizes he needs them to see in class. He is far-sighted and probably needs them for reading and seeing up close. This might be effecting his test-taking abilities...

Saturday On the Run

I woke up to take care of Sumter to find Colin sleeping on the living room couch again. I've caught two crickets (one in his room, another just outside his door) in a week. They seem to be getting in the basement through some gaps in the foundation and floorboards and disturbing my son. When Colin has been staying in his room at night he rolls up a blanket to block the crack under the door.

The race that Colin was in did not start until 12:30 and for the first time this season, he added two minutes to his time for a PW of the year. (personal worst). A few factors may have affected his performance. He ate poorly the night before and loaded up on donuts at the game. He went to bed around 2:00 and did not get enough sleep. After the race Colin had complained about getting a cramp mid-way through the race.

Upon coming home, he passed out as usual. Later that evening he fell asleep in our bathroom with the lights and fan running. This has been a relatively recent phenomenon.

The bathroom fan used to be a trigger sound but now it does not seem to effect him. The past several weeks upon coming home from running practice, he will fall asleep for a few hours in the bathroom after taking his shower. My middle-son will nap for the same amount of time in his room. The boys then will wake up between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. for a late dinner and then homework. It is a hard cycle to break.

Sunday Morning

Upon waking up early Sunday Morning, we noticed that someone was in our bathroom; we could hear the fan running and see the light from under the door. Hubs woke up Colin, helped him off the floor and asked if he would like to lay down in his Eldest brother's room. He groggily replied in the affirmative. Dad assisted in walking him down the hall and onto his brother's bed where he fell back into his sleep-coma. This was the first time since he has been home and probably in three years since he has slept in a bed!

Late that morning I checked in to see if he wanted to go to the Parade of Homes (new home tour) with us. To which he replied no and went back to sleep.

Early that evening when I finally saw my son again, he was still in his pajamas. He meandered about, snuggled the dog and had a meal (not sure if it was breakfast, lunch or dinner). I asked if he had done his laundry and he grunted a bit. I asked if he needed help to which he replied, "Maybe". I offered to do his laundry and he took me up on it.

For some reason this made me happy. This was a way I could show my motherly love and by letting me help him,  in some strange way, I felt loved back.

As always.... we are a work-in-progress.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Another Decent Weekend!

As time goes on, we continue to see progress with Colin.

Friday night was yet another home game for the football team. This time the theme was Camouflage as a nod to the troops. Middle-son decided to stay home as he had the ACT's the next day and wanted to be in good shape. He did loan his brother a camo-paintball suit and matching cap. Colin asked for opinions on his get-up which I thought looked fine (although he was swimming in the XL suit!). I loaned him a pair of my combat boots which seemed to fit him! I wear an 8 1/2 women's and he is currently a men's size 7 which is about the same size other than the width. I was even allowed to take a photo!

He politely asked for a ride and I dropped him off in front of the stadium. A half-hour before he wanted to be picked up, he called home and was again cordial and clear about timing. This trip was performed by my husband and again went smoothly.

Off to the Races

Saturday morning I was up at my usual 6:00 a.m. for dog duties and middle-son was up and getting ready for his ACT exam. Colin was fast asleep on the living room couch. Not sure if he had another bug issue in his room but at least he seemed to be sleeping soundly.

After the dog was fed and walked, I went to work for a few hours to complete a project. When I arrived back home later that morning, Colin had retreated to his room. His weekly cross country meet was not until later that afternoon.

When middle-son came back home, I took him out for lunch while hubs went with Colin to the meet. It gave us a chance to catch up as well as spending a bit of quality time. I wanted to hear about Colin's progress at school as well as make sure my son knows he is appreciated for helping with his baby brother.

I was concerned about Colin getting along at school and having friends. My 17 year old assured me that Colin is well-liked and is happy and is not afraid to speak his mind.  He is known for being cute and funny, although sometimes his humor is unintentional.

Viva La France!

I was given a recent example. Middle-son heard the same story from several different sources.

There is a new student who has a locker near Colin. Apparently he spoke with what seemed to be a fake accent and our son found it annoying. A hallway exchange was overheard by several boys.

"Dude, you gotta cut this annoying sh*t out; speaking in a fake accent like you are from France or something!"

"But I AM from France!"

"Whatever...."  as he shook his head and walked away.

Colin had unknowingly insulted the new exchange student from France!


Another Personal Best 

The meet went well and Colin shaved another 30 seconds off his time. He collapsed on the couch after arriving home and later spent yet another night in the living room. I was not able to get an a clear answer if there was a problem in his room, like bugs. It is encouraging that our son is able to spend more time upstairs as the year goes on.

Sunday was anther uneventful day. I had very little interaction with Colin. He spent most of the day in his room. 

His behavior has been much better as well. This does not mean he is trigger-free but he seems to be coping better. At this point we are still subjected daily to "shushes" which I don't really consider bad behavior. I take this as a warning that he does not want to hear any conversation. We try to comply as best as possible.

And it seems to be working.

We are a work-in-progress!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Late Start

I woke this morning to the sounds of my middle-son's clock-alarm going off down the hall. After a few minutes I was able to sit up and focus my eyes on my clock. It was 5:15 a.m. I laid back down and rested for a bit, until 6:00 a.m.

I went about my morning routine. I took Sumter out for a pee and then down to Colin's room. The door was open a crack; enough for me to see. His alarm was going off and playing static ocean sounds. I could see books and papers scattered about on the sofa. Colin was asleep on the giant stuffed dog behind the couch.

I let Sumter in to give his usual morning greeting,  to which Colin replied, "Get out!" Up we went and I fed the pup his breakfast and took him for his morning jaunt around the block. Upon our return, I checked in with middle-son to see if his brother was awake and getting ready. I was told that he had an agreement with Colin about what time he needed to be ready to leave. My high-school senior is taking morning classes at a nearby college and needed to leave no later than 6:45 a.m. to be able to drop Colin at school on the way to first class.

I performed another check on Colin. The light was on and I was warned to "Go away!"

Driving Mr. Colin

At 6:45, I heard the warning, "Come on Colin, I am leaving!". After another couple of attempts, my driver took off, leaving his surly younger brother behind. I sprung into action. I made plans with hubs, who was still in bed, to take Sumter to daycare so that I could go in the opposite direction to drop off Colin. I then proceeded to finish getting ready for work while Colin shouted, "Hurry up! We need to leave in five minutes!"

I found it ironic, more like hypocritical, that while I was finishing getting ready, my son kept yelling at me to hurry up, as if he was ready to rush out the door. Only he wasn't even close. He rushed upstairs to brush his teeth, still barking orders. Then back down stairs, scurrying about and gathering up his supplies for the day.
We ended up being ready to leave about the same time. I was ready to give a lecture and stopped myself. No good would come of this, so instead I remained silent.

I started the car, turned off the radio and asked, "Do you have everything?" to which the answer was , "Yes! LET"S GO!"

And off we went! I may have taken a few corners a bit faster than prudent and accelerated more quickly than usual. As I could hear things sliding about the back of the car, I'm pretty sure I made it clear that I WAS hurrying and did not need any more reminders.

We made good time and arrived at school at 7:20 a.m. As I pulled up to the drop-off, I held my breath and was prepared for one last barrage. I pushed the button to open the side door and Colin collected his things. Before he left, he said. "Could you please wake me up next time?".

I said, "Sure. What time?" and he replied, " Around 5:00 ish".

"Sure!" I answered back as I closed the door and took off.

I took a deep breath and adjusted my perspective. My son ASKED for help. This is about as close to a "Thank You" as I was going to receive. To which I am grateful.

As always....We are a work-in-progress!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Labor Day Weekend

Summer has unofficially come to a close with the celebration of Labor Day and a three day weekend. Even though the weekend was pretty low-key, it went by pretty quickly. And thankfully peacefully.

Friday afternoon eldest got a ride back home from his roommate's family. He has now completed two weeks of college. Colin and his middle-brother arrived home an hour or so later and began their preparations for another Friday Night Football game at their school. This time the theme was a Hawaiian one. We had to take a trip out to my work where I was storing leis, and tropical party supplies left over from their brother's graduation party. They were wearing sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts that I bought them to wear for Eldest's party. They looked pretty cute and I could not help but smile.

Saturday was another cross country meet. Colin had a slightly tough time getting up that morning and slept for the half-hour ride to the course. He did well and shaved a tiny bit of time off his prior weeks' performance. Afterwards we went straight home and he fell into another "sleep coma".  I did not see much of him for the rest of the day.

Sunday morning, Hubs, Eldest, Colin and I went to Bob Evan's for breakfast. Middle-son had his last day of the year at his life guarding job and was unable to join us. We had a nice meal and Colin seemed happy to catch up with his brother about life away at college. He did not seem to take notice of all the ceiling fans whirling about. Upon our return home, we all went about our tasks for the day. Hubs continued work on the kitchen, I did some yard work then took eldest out to run a few errands and Colin retreated to his room, presumably for some video games.

Sunday evening, Hubs, Middle-son and Colin went to see the Minion Movie while Eldest and I stayed behind. The boys seemed to have a nice evening out and were in good spirits.

All good things must come to an end. Monday afternoon, I drove Eldest and his roommate back to school; a four hour round trip.  When I returned, I found that brotherly love had momentarily run out and there was a bit of a disagreement brewing. Middle-son was angry at Colin and hid his laptop. I inquired about the offense. Turns out it was pretty minor. Colin was in the bathroom and refused to answer a question that his brother yelled through the door. He may have either shushed or told his brother to shut-up. I can't blame my son for wanting to take care of "business" in peace. Middle-son was angry at what he thought was disrespect.

I  firmly asked what he did with his brother's computer and was told it was in the basement. I gave Colin 5 minutes to find it and if he could not, I would intervene. When I went downstairs to check, Colin claimed he did not find it. I looked and could not see it either, even when being told the hiding spot.

I demanded that my older boy come down immediately and fetch it. When he angrily marched down to show me where he put his brother's computer, it was not where he left it. He then went to Colin's room to face his sneaky younger sibling. I trailed behind.

Although Colin was wearing an innocent expression, it was clear he found and re-hid his laptop to get back at his brother. All I could do was shake my head... and be thankful that this was a normal sibling tiff.

As always.... we are a work-in-progress!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Off to a Good Start

Last week flew by. So far the boys seem to be in a good routine and I barely see them. I've been asked to sign papers and given snippets of information. I've also been subjected to a few soft "shushes" and a couple of  "hate messages". This is communicated through the dog such as Colin in his usual sing-songy voice, "Kill her" or "Sumter says he hates you" while he is petting his dog. As these are non-disruptive, I either laugh or ignore it. Not sure why he does this. I can't tell if he was triggered, in a bad mood, jealous over the time I spend with "his" dog or just joking. We've been through so much worse, this is hardly worth mentioning other than to point out that this is the extent of the bad behavior we now see.

Friday Night Lights

Friday night, I came home to the two younger boys in the basement painting white t-shirts with washable paint.   I was warned not to let the dog down there. They were getting ready for the first football game of the season at their high school. Each game has a theme and that night was "America". The boys were adorning their tees with red, white & blue images.

After Sumter was fed and walked, I curled up on the couch with the pup. As I was chilling out, I could hear Colin in the bathroom cursing. He seemed to be talking to a group, addressing them as "bitches". I couldn't make out what was being said other than a bunch of profanities. As he walked into the living room, I said "What?" to make sure he was not talking to me earlier. He calmly looked at me with a blank expression, as if the brief curse-word laden soliloquy I overheard never happened.

Soon after middle-son was upstairs and they were having a contest as to who could talk "creepier". I later asked my 17 year old if everything was o.k. in school and explained my concern that Colin may have had a run-in with some boys. Middle-son assured me that he knew of no such event and his brother seemed fine.

Several hours later they came home from the game and seemed to have a great time. It has been reassuring to see the boys getting on so well.

Meet and Greet

Saturday morning was the first cross country meet of the season. Hubs and I packed up the dog and Colin while middle-son had to go to work. Colin has made Sumter the team mascot and takes pride in showing him off to the boys. Unfortunately this meet had a no-dogs-allowed policy and we had to watch from the perimeters with the other dogs. Colin has improved over last year and was in the middle of the pack as opposed to one of the last. He also is a few inches taller and no longer the smallest.

Upon arriving home, he collapsed on the couch and fell into a deep sleep. I had a friend who was in town with his 8 year old son visiting family and had made arrangements to have a pool day at my sister's house. As I mentioned in my last post, our house is not in shape for company due to our first floor makeover in progress. Luckily my friend's family lives close to my sister and my sister has an open-door policy!

Unable to wake Colin up, I took the dog and went to my sister's. A few hours later, Colin, hubs and middle-son came out. We had a nice afternoon and the "problem child" turned out to be Sumter. Towards dinnertime, my sister had several friends arrive for a potluck/cookout and our pup started to growl at a few of the guests. Other than that, we had a nice time for most of the evening.

Middle-son had to leave early for a babysitting gig and my nephew had some friends over. This made Colin the odd-man out and after a while he was bored. We had to leave before I had wanted, just before 8:30 p.m.. Our son was becoming agitated and had been sitting in the car for 10 minutes before I was done with my goodbyes. Once safely at home, we went our separate ways. I passed out early due to consuming two glasses of wine.

Sunday was our day to recuperate and get ready for the week ahead.

So far the week has been relatively uneventful as a routine is getting set. The boys get up early, I have to help make sure Colin is awake. After a bit of rushing about they are out the door between 6:30 - 6:45 a.m. Colin has cross country practice after school. My early birds arrive home before I do and fall into a coma. I usually don't see them until an hour or so before my bedtime where they have a late dinner together.

Many parents are heartbroken that they are not able to share quality time with their miso-child. I on the other hand feel that less is more. I rather have brief encounters that are not unpleasant. I am content to observe from a distance and see that my son is relatively content. It does my heart good to see my boys getting along. I feel so very lucky.....

We are a work-in-progress!