Equality and Divorce

In the state where I was married (and divorced) before, in any marriage lasting 10 years or longer, spouses are automatically granted half of their former spouses retirement, no questions asked.  Therefore, even though the ex was college educated and quite capable of getting and maintaining his own job with a retirement plan, but chose not to, he is entitled to half of my retirement.

For the same reason that I disagree with “no tolerance” policies in public education, as well as all-or-nothing inclusion policies, I find this law completely without merit.

I understand the reasoning behind its inception: it was designed to protect housewives of yesteryear who were often left with no way to support themselves financially after a divorce, having given up any career options they may have had to stay home and raise the children or what have you.  I applaud the thought behind it, and I’m sure it did a lot to even out the playing field in years past.

But now that it benefits someone like the ex, who chose a seasonal, menial job over a salaried position using his degree in graphic design, and chose to take unemployment all winter rather than find a different type of job for those months, who chose to use that time at home smoking pot and doing very little of anything else that might contribute to the running of the household, now this law has jumped the shark.  It has ceased protecting the people it was designed to help, and instead is benefiting those who clearly do not deserve the benefit.

One of the newspapers posted a story about dads fighting back in the court system in regards to custody and child support, and me with my big mouth decided to comment in the comments on the facebook link that it would be great if they could also review that archaic law that decides that 10 years of marriage means you deserve half of someone’s retirement, and guess what?  Yup.  Just about every misogynist on the internet responded back to me.  That we women wanted equality, and now we have it so just suck it up and “pay up Buttercup.”

Bleh.

Never once did I bash men in my comment.  I asked for a review of the arbitrary law, and declared that I would like a more thoughtful approach to the division of assets.  But in response, several men decided that I was the source of their misfortune in life, and that I should pay for the wrongdoings of every woman who had ever wronged them.  Nevermind that a review like the kind for which I advocate could and obviously would benefit at least some men, including these men who have been so wronged by some apparently evil women.  Nope, that didn’t matter.  All that mattered is that I was a woman, women have asked for equality, and now that “we have it” I should shut up.

We still have a long way to go, ladies, if men are against any of our ideas, even if it would benefit them, just because a woman has voiced them.  A long way to go…

 

Our Summer Plan

So, summer break is here.  How did that happen??  One minute it’s May, and the next… Well.  The Boy has two weeks of vacation, just enough time to drive him up a wall.  He is spending leisurely, unstructured days at Grammy’s until ESY starts up.  ESY this year will consist of him meeting up with his teacher at the local library and doing God knows what school-type things for an hour and a half.  And then four weeks out of the summer he will go to a day camp for kids on the spectrum and their siblings, the same one he went to last year, which he grew to love.  And then he’ll have two weeks off again in August before starting up again, one of which will be spent visiting with Fantastic Babysitter and her new baby who are coming to visit (and I CAN’T WAIT TO GET MY BABY FIX!!!).

And me?  I’m not missing the summer break yet.  My job can be stressful, but I do not need the break anywhere as much as I did when I was a teacher.  Plus I live at the beach, so any time I get too stressed…  I don’t want to make you too jealous. ;)

Grammy is being the wonderful grammy that she is, and taking off work a day this week and next to take him somewhere special, maybe the waterpark, maybe a movie to spend some quality Grammy-Boy time with him.  And I get off work fairly early so that we can still go do stuff together.

I’ve seen some other great ideas for adding a little structure to the summer:

  • This one has a theme-a-day which is great to fit into your schedule when you need it or want it
  • These are some great ways to prep your child for the changes in routine, and how to add some structure to the summer
  • And this is a comprehensive list of ideas and resources to ensure brains are still engaged in the summer months

I hope you are ready.  I feel pretty good about it, at least for The Boy.  I hope we still get to spend some family time together, and it doesn’t fly by too fast.  It’s still my favorite season.

Let us know what you’ve got planned in the comments!

Inclusion is still not a “thing”?

While reading the recent NPR article about inclusion, I realized that it’s still a subject of controversy, which puzzles me.  Because to me, the issue of inclusion is about basic human rights.  In America, every kid has the right to a free education, and the notion that some kids who “hinder” or “distract” kids who will actually make a “net contribution to society” and should therefore be stuck in a room somewhere sounds like something out of the 50s and 60s.  Have we really not traveled so far as to realize the “worth” of every human being, and their basic human rights, even in this country?

Wow.

I have to say I’m gobsmacked.  Many commenters were concerned about gifted kids being placed centrally in a classroom so they could help their peers during lessons, as if that were a disservice to that gifted child.  What?  We want to discourage helping others, now?  Because not being placed centrally in the classroom would help her achieve higher levels of giftedness?  Help me understand…

The Boy in his ASD room with compression blankets, sitting atop a pilates ball

The Boy in his ASD room with compression blankets, sitting atop a pilates ball

I am not necessarily a proponent of full inclusion, except when a student with disabilities is best served with full inclusion.  I prefer for my kid to have a safe space and some downtime in his school day, so that he doesn’t have to be “on” all day long.  I love that he has a space where he can be his true self, at least during lunch, and his social skills class.  If he didn’t, he would be ready to blow every day when he got home, and that ain’t good for anybody.  So I appreciate the sort of inclusion he gets – “Inclusion lite”, if you will.

But as I wrote in my recent post, I want him to be able to socialize with his neuro-typical peers, because that’s a thing.  He will need that in his lifetime, in order to succeed to the best of his abilities.  And in my humble opinion, he will need that more than knowledge about the Pharoahs of Egypt.  I want him to belong to his school community, and that just won’t happen if he is stuck in a separate room all day.

I shouldn’t let the trolls get to me, but every human being has worth, and my kid has more than most.  He deserves the same respect as every other kid on the block.  And he does have a very basic right to the same education every other 6th grader gets.

ESY Is Different Down Here

ESY, or Extended School Year, has been a mainstay of The Boy’s summer experience since he was six years old.  I have written about some of his experiences in the past, and he always looked forward to it when we lived up north.  Last year, he struggled with adapting to a summer day camp which did not include computers, and was not like school very much at all, although he ended up enjoying the experience and meeting some new (and long-lasting) friends.

Before we moved here, I asked some parents with whom I had connected in advance, through the autism society’s local chapter whether or not they knew anything about the local ESY program.  They had no idea what I was talking about…

“Uh-oh”, I thought.

When we went through the IEP process this year, the assistant director for special education for the school district was involved (because I was trying to get The Boy into his current program, and being the warrior mom that I need to be to get things done from time to time), and she indicated then that ESY for this summer would be a long-shot.  We would have to prove he needed it with data. “I’ve got six years of data backing me up,” I thought.

And this year’s IEP rolled around and his special ed teacher for language arts and math basically explained that even if he did qualify, which she clearly didn’t believe he did, it was very different from what we had experienced up north.  Down here, it was basically one-on-one tutoring with an aide for a few hours a week.

“Oh crap,” I thought.

I immediately began to devise activities with which I could supplement his summer camp – was there a computer camp or cartooning lessons I could find somewhere (and could I even afford it)?

The Boy’s program teacher called about two weeks later to let me know that they had determined that The Boy would qualify for ESY this year, because he had had it for so many years, and that they would continue to collect data next school year to determine whether or not he would qualify for the following year.

“Yay… kind of,” I thought.

Now we need to determine where this “ESY” experience will occur, and how often and for how long.  Luckily he will have his program teacher, which helps with the continuity.  But it remains to be seen how effective this brand of summer enrichment will be toward maintaining the structure and routine that most kids on the spectrum need through the summer months.

sandy boy

Incognito

I apologize for hiding lately.  Between the stress at work, and the stress of The Boy returning to normal after spring break (yes, still in the process), I’ve had a rough go of it lately.

My goal for work down here was to have something less stressful than what I left.  I left a really good salary, but an increasingly Sisyphean job to come here.  After being unemployed for five months, another sort of stressful way to spend one’s days, I thought I had found something rewarding and with far less stress.  I felt challenged and rewarded, appreciated and meaningful.  And then the tourist season began to get underway, and the tasks began to pile on and the procedures began to change from one minute to the next, resulting in my new-ish job keeping me awake at night, and my feelings of love for it becoming a distant memory.  I still enjoy it, but the frustration level is beginning to exceed the reward.

And The Boy is just now returning to his normal happy self, albeit with a renewed obsession with toilets, which is not the easiest to roll with.  I thought we were past this one, as of several years ago, but all it took was one visit to his dad’s to rekindle the fancy, and now we have to check and see what brand of toilets every single store and restaurant in the county has, and re-create several “flushing” scenes from Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo daily.

Luckily The Man has been a rock for me, and we are fast approaching our anniversary, both a little amazed at how good marriage can be.  We’re missing date nights with my working every weekend during wedding season, but as I said, he has been the support I have needed over the past several weeks.

I have lots of posts in me to write, and now I just have to find time to write them.  Bear with me, peeps.  I’m working on it.

:)

“Combating” Autism

A bill was just introduced in congress to extend the Combating Autism act, set to expire at the end of September, for another five years.

I just have one question: Who picked the name for that?

Combating Autism?

Autism is and always will be a part of my son, so when you “combat” autism, are you “combating” my son?  I would much prefer that you support him, encourage him, and provide him with opportunities, rather than “combat” him, or any part of him.

IMG_2297

I know, I know.  This is potentially a good thing, “shaping the Federal response to autism”…

But when things like this are named incorrectly, it can set a poor tone, a negative focus, a misinterpreted goal.

As I’ve said before, Words Are Important.  I still want to know who came up with this title…

I Fought the Dock and the Dock Won

Yeah, so this weekend, THIS happened…

not mom bruises

I was walking down the dock, minding my own business, waiting for a very late bride to show up at the boat, and I stepped over a shin-high chain that keeps people off the end of the dock…  Well, I attempted to step over the chain, but the chain had other ideas.  I’m not sure what happened, and even though I have tried to determine, CSI-like, what happened from the resulting bumps and bruises, I have not been successful.  All I know is it was not graceful, and I ended up flat on my back on the dock.  I took a moment to laugh at myself, and then hopped up, ready to see how many people were laughing at me on the waterfront (luckily only a couple people, like my boss).  I knew I had some abrasions, but I was wearing long pants, and was determined to suck it up and get through the wedding and be home before I even looked at my wounds.

Suffice it say that I thought I had broken something near my left kneecap by the time Saturday night rolled around, and couldn’t move too well on Sunday, either, with strict orders from The Man to keep my feet up.  I don’t think you call them goose-eggs when they are on your shins, but I have one the size of an Ostrich egg on my right leg, and the bruise the size of Montana towards the back of my left knee?  Let’s just say I still can’t bend my knee all the way.  Do you like how the bruises are wavy-shaped, like a chain?  Monday was still stiff and sore, but today was much better movement – I’d say I’m at about 70 percent.

I must be getting older, because I’m finding it harder to bounce back, so to speak, but I’m glad it seems I’m on the mend.

And I have learned to always, always, always unhook the chain on the dock.

Luck

I was chatting on Facebook with a cousin of my dad’s whom I don’t know altogether well, and he said he had been following my posts about autism, in particular a link to this post, describing how much of a struggle some parents of children on the spectrum face every day.  He said he hadn’t realized how bad it could be, and hoped we didn’t face those kinds of challenges.

I filled him in a bit on The Boy, and how well he’s done in his new program, and predictably (albeit sweetly), he said how lucky The Boy was to have such a strong advocate for a mom.

The truth is, I am the lucky one to have The Boy.

I look at him every day, amazed that this boy is mine, that he has half my genes, that he has grown so big and so clever and so funny.  That he has grown into this fascinating human being with moods and thoughts and interests ranging from cars to space to recording and sound editing.  That he is so capable, and so vulnerable, yet so strong himself to be on the spectrum and deal with all of his challenges with fairly little complaint.

IMG00007-20100904-1632

I just wish I could know him better.  I wish I could communicate with him more easily about his deep thoughts and feelings (as if he would, pre-teen that he now is).  I wish I understood him better, and I feel like I have failed him when I can’t understand something he is trying to make me understand.

I love this boy of mine, more than I ever thought a human being was capable of loving, and the bonus is that I like him, too.  I wrote recently about everyone falling in love with him, and most people who get to know him end up knowing he is a great kid.  The kind of kid it is easy to be strong for.  My job is simple, and I’m the lucky one.