Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Found My Purpose

This morning, after being shushed just minutes earlier, I was summoned by Colin.

"Mom, there's a bug in my room!".

I waited a minute or so to respond and then asked the obvious.

"Do you want me to get it?"

After being given coordinates (on the floor, directly below the light switch). I went down with a couple of sheets of toilet paper in hand. I found the tiniest of spiders curled up in a ball and picked it up. I showed my find to my son who flinched and backed away as he nodded in the affirmative. 

I guess I have found my purpose in life!

The Joy of Listening

Having my son vent to me about others has been another job I take pride in. The upside to Colin having issues is when he vents to me about them. The trick is to mostly listen and not to try to offer up solutions, although the "mom" in me can't help making a few suggestions.

A few weeks ago, my son told me about a group project for science. The assignment was for each group to make a video related to biodiversity or a similar topic based on ecology. Colin mentioned that two boys that he would not normally have picked as teammates, asked to be in his group. They were not the best of students but my son felt they seemed nice enough and would make an honest attempt at pitching in with the work. I had a not so good feeling about this.

The first week of the project, Colin was beginning to be concerned. He was worried that the other two boys were in no hurry to get started. He had a difficult time getting meetings set up and there appeared to be some "artistic" differences. Most of Colin's ideas were being rejected and the other boys' ideas were a bit off-topic. It was clear they had not done the required reading.

There was a section where my son wanted to do a Steve Irwin bit and needed a hat and clothing to look like an Australian wildlife expert. I was able to pick up a few things at Walmart while helping my middle-son with finding envelopes for his graduation invitations. I also loaned my tripod and helped with a few props. 

The reward was being able to hear about his presentation and being allowed to watch the video in his room.
I was surprised and delighted to see my name in the credits. When I asked about that, he told me that the other boys' moms did nothing to help. He also gave credit to his middle-brother who helped not only with ideas but appeared in the video as his acting skills were needed.

It was clear as I watched the other two boys fumble through their lines, that Colin was clearly the one who did the majority of the work. Colin was more than a little pissed-off at one of the boys. It got back to Colin that this teammate was bad-mouthing him around school. He was also claiming to be the brains of the group, although Colin's friends say that the boy was clearly joking. Unfortunately my son did not think the boy was joking and was not amused.

In the credits, Colin listed himself as the producer, the writer, the directer and that he did all the work! The other boys were given credit as actors and teammates, although both roles were small.

There were a few life-lessons for everyone. For the lazy students, they will think twice before ever wanting to work with Colin again. My son might seem nice and congenial but in reality he is a control-freak who will exact revenge for those who try to take unfair advantage. The lesson for Colin is to be a bit smarter in choosing future groups.

I am trying to keep my distance and let Colin work through this situation. He still is planing to talk to the teacher to make sure he knows how little the other boys did, especially the more difficult of the two. Colin does not think the boys should get the same grade as him. He is also upset as he feels that if he had a different group, the project could have been so much better. The scores have not been handed out yet, but I thought it was a solid effort and should be at least a B+. Colin has a 95% before this grade so he should remain an A. The other boys have Cs & Ds  and should only be helped.

Should be interesting to see how this plays out.....

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Every Day Is Mother's Day

This past Mother's Day Weekend went by quickly and was largely uneventful. Colin is continuing on his all-day sleeping and staying up all night. These are the highlights from the past week:

  • On Thursday night, Colin passed his Lifeguard Training. His dad went to pick him up and spoke with the teacher. Our son aced the written exam but his instructor felt he could benefit from another session to fine-tune his teamwork skills. There were only five people in his class and pairing up with a partner had to be rotated. I also can't help but wonder if part of Colin's "wiring issues" make it more difficult to work with others. Colin plans to go to an extra session at the end of the month 

  • Colin has been battling a nasty head-cold for a while. On days where he does not get enough sleep his symptoms seem to worsen. Although he started to improve over the weekend, he decided to skip his Ultimate Frisbee Team's tournament on Sunday. One of the school teams involved had players that Colin went to middle school with. He decided to skip the meet with the excuse of being sick, although he did tell his dad and eldest brother the real reason was due to not wanting to see boys from his past. While I understand he still is ashamed of the year he left school abruptly to live with his aunt, I had hoped he would be able to have moved on by now. he just does not want to have to explain.

  • Sunday night, we celebrated Mother's Day with Chinese take-out. At this point in my life, I am grateful for a quiet family dinner. That was enough of a gift.

  • Monday night when I picked Colin up from school, he was a bit chattier than usual. He is in the midst of a group project for science and having some issues. The other two boys in his group, are not classmates he would have chosen to work with but they seemed eager to be in his group. Colin decided against his better judgement to accept them as group mates for a video project. I believe the combination of two less-than-stellar students and an above-average control-freak makes for a volatile situation. But on the bright side, I appreciate that my son is choosing to open up and vent to me!

As always, we are a work in progress!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Never Enough Hours in a Day

The past month has been a whirlwind of activity. I wish I knew how much sleep Colin is getting and I worry it is not enough. Ultimate Frisbee has replaced swimming for the Spring thus the chauffeuring continues.

Highlights from the past month:

  • Colin was inducted into the National Honor Society a few weeks ago. I learned about the event 45 minutes before he had to be at the school. I found out that evening as I was about to pick the dog up from daycare. I was able to fetch the pup and do a quick change and only be 5 minutes late in dropping him off before finding a parking spot. Fortunately there was a 15 minute period before the ceremony and disaster was narrowly averted. On the way home I was told that the reason my son joined this group was so he could do his service project. He wants to tutor other students in Calculus. #proudmommoment
  •  Last week Lifeguard Classes started. Thankfully this will be over at the end of the week. I am under the gun to race to the high school, pick up my son and shuttle him to the class by 5:00 p.m. As stressful as this is, I am glad to be able to do this task. I also take a few snacks to my son for the short ride to the pool. This seems to help with his mood.
  • Eldest came home on Friday for summer break from his first year at college. Colin seems to look up to his brother and seems glad he is home. 
  • Last night on the way to his class, Colin mentioned he needed a study guide for the SAT Biology exam. He apologized for the late notice but needed us to get it that night. I was able to locate a copy at the local B&N bookstore and Dad picked it up. In addition to all his activities, study sessions start tonight for the 2 subject test. He will be the first of my boys to take this exam. My middle-son mentioned that he regretted not doing this as this test is important to get into the top universities. 
  • Colin is still on a wonky sleep schedule. When he comes home at night. ( Now 9:30 p.m.) he falls asleep, usually in the bathroom, for several hours. When he wakes up, usually in the wee hours of the morning, he is panicked and frantically will try to catch up on studying and schoolwork. This is a crunch week, with AP tests coming up, his after- school activities and preparing for exams. 
  • Occasionally I will perform some internet searches to keep track of Colin's online activity (what is public). I stumbled upon his profile on a gaming site. I am able to view activity over two week periods. One period which one of the weeks fell over Spring Break, my son racked up 103 hours! That is equal to having a full-time job with overtime! He has been gaming approximately 55 hours over the last two weeks which is more like a part-time job but still a bit worrisome. I mentioned this to my eldest who said I should not be concerned. I was told that this is the amount of time logged in and does not indicate hours in play.

Overall, Colin continues to hold steady. Some days are better than others. The routine and concerns remain. I am relieved that my son has maintained a 4.0 and higher throughout the school year. He seems to be focused on his schoolwork and college prep work. While I feel that computer games have been beneficial to my son's coping, I do worry that he is spending too much time online. Time that could be better spent sleeping and resting his brain. Unfortunately, my husband and I have an agreement to continue a hands-off approach as long as the 4.0 GPA remains and he is able to peacefully coexist in our household.

All in all, I continue to be grateful for where Colin is today. Life is not perfect but it is good enough. The trick is to not worry about the future and to focus on the day-to-day. It is also helpful to keep expectations simple. I can live with the daily "shushes" when my son wants quiet. I can even handle infrequent "Shut-up"s. I draw the line at the "rages" from a few years ago and am glad there have been ZERO since Colin has been back from living at his aunt's house.

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