05/31/06 04:01 - 75ºF - ID#23058
MAJOR DISTRESS CALL!!!!!!
we were so close! but unfortunately we cannot get the movie onto a VHS tape!
we used s video cord to get it onto a tv, but somehow we are unable to get the VCR to record the footage.
SO WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!
this has to be sent out tomorrow, is there anyone who would be able to record this file onto a vhs tape for us? i can send you the file, its about 35MB.
PLEASE HELP!! if i win the million bucks i will personaly give 10,000 to the person who helps us, i swear!
you can view it on youtube here
when it starts, press pause and let it load first, that way you can watch it without it stopping while it loads.
Location: Buffalo, NY
05/30/06 08:30 - 73ºF - ID#23057
Hot ass niagara!
we drove there in (e:nejifer) 's convertible and were extra, extra, supa, dupa, fly, looking like movie stars, until we got out of the car and our hair wais fucked to high hell and our faces were melting off.
we ran around the falls like mad women, while pretending we were pirates, flamenco dancers, bull fighters, babkas's and muslim women. you might get to see it in the footage if we can work out the technical difficulties.
out secret project that we set out to do might get finished today and when it is, we will try to post it somewhere.
here is a photo of (e:ladycroft) and i, in the secret garden
and here is (e:ladycroft) looking very virginal while thinking very, very dirty thoughts! (better not be about my secret lover, jared leto!)
and here she is a la grace kelley style.
last one, lc and (e:nejifer) the beauties that they are!
Location: Buffalo, NY
05/24/06 07:10 - 62ºF - ID#23056
luckily we got her plates and called it into the police department, but they wont do anything unless the person who's car was hit, calls them first!
we were in a hurry back to work so we could not leave a note either.
if anyone knows someone who's car was parked on elmwood at cleveland at about 3pm and got two huge dents and scratches, let me know. the hit car was a beige plymouth breeze. it had a car seat in the back.
the chick drove a black hondaish car with the plates
i hate shitty people!
Location: Buffalo, NY
05/23/06 10:05 - 53ºF - ID#23055
this day keeps getting better and better
when i called back, she greeted me with the news that our mutual friend working here in the states from germany, was arrested for vehicular homicide. he killed a 33 year old father of 3 while driving drunk. slammed right into his car when he crossed the double yellow line. he himself has two children who live in europe.
his company posted bond at $100,000. but there is no getting around anything here. he will be doing a minimum of eight years. we are devistated. for the man who lost his life. for his children, and for the stupid choices my friend made and for his grim future. you can read the news here
Location: Buffalo, NY
05/23/06 08:42 - 43ºF - ID#23054
oh my bleeding hand (for real, for real)
luckily she is ok, and only has a surface cut. i asked the principal if she cried when this happened (i seriously doubted she would show any emotion) and she said she was not upset at all and was only fascinated by her bleeding hand.
we have an appointment with the psychiatrist for the asperger evaluation on june 5th.
Location: Buffalo, NY
05/21/06 10:40 - 46ºF - ID#23053
i love the 90's
Location: Buffalo, NY
05/16/06 07:46 - 57ºF - ID#23052
For e:nejifer and other leto freaks!
I knew he'd come back for me...hee hee!!
Faben's bleeding hand.
Location: Buffalo, NY
05/09/06 03:13 - 72ºF - ID#23051
There are no gods
The average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. Faben scored a 28.
I am surprised no professional has ever brought this up.
Faben brought home a test in English that she took last week. She purposely failed it. She refused to write a 50 point essay, that required her to write about heroes while using vocabulary words. In its place she wrote:
"I don't need heroes. I am not going to lie and say my mom is my hero, because that isn't true. I am not going to use any vocabulary words because they just don't quire cover it. I don't look up to anyone because I don't find anything acknowledgeable about anyone. why should I? I don't give a damn about anyone anyway. While all you losers have heroes I will be in hell laughing at you stupid idiots. Everyone's only human.
THERE ARE NO GODS!"
And the funny thing is, she knew she was throwing the test, yet she completed an essay for extra credit on that test. Why would you bother doing the rest of the test and the extra credit, knowing you were going to fail. She would have had a 97 on the test, but instead, because of the missing essay, got 49. See what I mean, by how stubborn she is?
Now she's decided to work on a 10 page project for extra credit for English because she's failing, but she still doesnâ€™t regret failing the test. She said it was a stupid question and she was not going to answer stupid questions. She was also mad at me that day. Go figure.
Location: Buffalo, NY
05/08/06 10:38 - ID#23050
Don't ever have children.
Please don't yell at me. I know how long this post is. I know very few will read it, but I needed to vent and so I'm posting it here. I also know that the grammar is shitty and the spelling suck. I just need to get it off my chest.
I have a problem, and its weighing heavily on me. I feel defeated and cornered, and have to vent in order to try to get some clarity. I am probably the only person on this site that has an older child and children are probably the only people in the world that control your happiness in their little hands. They can be so endearing and tender that you feel completely overwhelmed with joy and yet they are the same people that have the power to infuriate and make your world an absolute living hell. This is often not done directly to you, but results as a byproduct of choices they make or events that occur without your control. Children can devastate you even when they donâ€™t intend to. They can make you feel intolerable pain, even as they are suffering rightfully so, because of dumb choices theyâ€™ve made or because theyâ€™ve ignored your advice. However, this agony is at its worst when you see your child in undeserved pain and giving up and youâ€™ve no help or answers to offer.
Let me back up, Iâ€™m not trying to be melodramatic, but Iâ€™ve a conundrum that is growing in size. I have a 12 year old daughter and I am worriedâ€¦.more than worried, I am concerned and scared and feel powerless.
Letâ€™s be kind and say sheâ€™s eclectic. Sheâ€™s an artist. Sheâ€™s not demanding and fairly well behaved. But if I were to decide to not be so nice, I would tell you sheâ€™s just plain weird and difficult and distant, not purposely, more so inadvertently. Yes, I embarrass her, but sometimes she wants me to embarrass her, and kiss her in public, and yes I yell at her, but at times she tells me thatâ€™s what she needs. I havenâ€™t asked her how many of my outburst have actually been productive, I donâ€™t want to know. And I donâ€™t want to know, not because I donâ€™t care, but because Iâ€™ve run out of ways of getting the point across and she in turn, has run out of motivation to find an answer to her problem. Over all, sheâ€™s a good kid, but I believe sheâ€™s at the point in her life where the conundrum has presented itself, dead smack in front of her, and seeing that I have no answers left, she is struggling to plan her next move.
She doesnâ€™t talk. Well, let me rephrase that, she talks, she speaks but she rarely communicates. She can joke and play and talk about this movie or that idea, but she avoids anything and everything that is remotely personal or emotional. This is not news to me. She has been like this since day one. During the three years she spent at boarding school, she phoned me a total of 4 times. Youâ€™d think she has no feelings, no concerns, no passions, and most certainly NO TEARS! She never came home after school and told me about the A she received on her test, or the field trip she went on, or what her friends were doing. And when I would try to extrapolate some sense of what is going on in her little world, she would answer in two word sentences and offer as little detail as possible. I know that she did this not because she wanted to keep secrets or be private, she just didnâ€™t see the point behind it. She does show some affection, stingy hugs and even stingier kisses, for me and less frequently, for my mother. If Iâ€™m lucky I sometimes can get a overly cutesy, â€œohh, I want to pinch your cheeksâ€¦. youâ€™re soo cuteâ€¦. I just canâ€™t take it.â€ As she got older sheâ€™s learned to bond through pinched cheeks and fat rolls, and sheâ€™ll now say, â€œMommy I love you so muchâ€ without embarrassment. But thatâ€™s where the line is drawn, nothing more, no intimate discussions, no shared feelings. That is the only time she shows affection towards me and has very little for friends or for other family members.
Even her drawings are passionless. They usually consist of a one or two people, who never interact with each other. They donâ€™t embrace, they donâ€™t lean on each others shoulder, and they donâ€™t fight or battle, rarely they may half heartedly hold hands while they lay down to their death. (yeah, the pictures can be that morbid) Her characters just exist, alone, on paper, in space.
She is not moody and is usually happy, her fictional world, that she is in, is constantly with her and that makes her happy. The characters sheâ€™s writing about or drawing, truly entertain her. Her fantasies make her happy.
When something is bothering her or stressing her, she will never speak it. Often, Iâ€™ll find out about a project sheâ€™s completed or an accomplishment sheâ€™s achieved, months after, and even then, someone else, usually a teacher, mentions it. She does not seek out praise, never did. As a 2 or 3 year old she never came to me and never shoved her freshly drawn picture under my nose even as drawing is her life.
Sheâ€™s been crafty with a pen since she was two. While at that age, most kids donâ€™t know how to make a cohesive circle, she was sketching people complete with details that children thrice her age often omit, such as eye lashes, pupils and finger nails. She drew, and she drew, and she drew. Any piece of paper that had an unmarked surface would be used. Friends, family and strangers would always ask, â€œDo you hang her pictures all over the fridge? And I would respond, â€œIf you knew how many pictures are scattered in all the nooks and crannies of the house, youâ€™d be much more inclined to try to keep the recycling bin from overflowing than worrying about the fridge art, itâ€™s everywhere.â€ The novelty wears off very quickly.â€ Since the age of 3, weâ€™ve been buying plain white computer paper by the boat loads and black pens by the cartons. No Crayolaâ€™s needed. One cannot draw delicate things with fat, dumpy crayons. .
So as a toddler, every night before I read her a bedtime story, she sat in her bed and drew for an hour or two. This was her wind down, her time to decompress. And so it was at about the same age that I started noticing other odd behaviors. Whenever a cartoon character began crying or started getting emotionally upset, she would literally, get off the couch and quickly scamper out of the room. She continued this behavior until about age 10, whence she would just simply cover her eyes and ears. She refused to step foot back into the room until there were no more tears. At 3, when she learned how to operate the VCR, I would watch, from behind her bedroom door, as she rewound and re-watched that same crying scene that she earlier ran fromâ€¦over and over and over, again. I know some would wonder if she perhaps, was being raised in an environment where no one cried, or showed emotion, and that she might have been discouraged from crying and told to be a big girl. Unfortunately, that simply was not the case.
It is also then, that she developed an affinity for tiny toys. Figurines, tiny plastic dinosaurs, miniature pokemon, anything 2 inches or smaller. She would play with her figurines for hours on end, becoming 4 characters at once, talking back and forth with herself. She was thoroughly self sufficient. In fact, she occasionally will still take a bath and bring all her tiny toys with her and chitter chatter with herself. Coincidentally, or not, her drawings were then miniaturized and incredibly detailed.
She drew stories, not pictures. Sheâ€™d illustrate a tiny dinosaur as he swoops in to catch a lone mouse who ventured, to his demise, above ground. All the while, below, scattered throughout, a family of twenty or so other mice resided in their elaborate tunnels. Each mouse would be pictured doing something very specific. There was the mother who was nursing her young, while licking the fragile runt on the head, and surrounding her would be the other babies, fighting amongst each other, making sure no one was trying to sneak in from behind. Others might be pictured sleeping or yawning. In parts of the tunnel, the worker mice would be digging to expand, and yet even further, one sorry fellow would be struggling to move a mound of dirt up to the surface. There would be adolescent mice whoâ€™d be agitating each other, biting and chasing their tails, and there would be grumpy old mice in a distant corner sleeping with one eye open. The cave-in would leave a group huddled together with fear in their eyes.
This theme was repeated with various other creatures such as ants, moles, and most often with a hybrid of all three. This, she did each night, as a three, four, and five year old, and this unique miniaturized drawing remains with her today, and although the subjects may have changed, the style has not. Very rarely, is anything she produces over four inches tall and yet it has such fine detail, that I often marvel at how it could be done without a computer.
Unfortunately, when she was not drawing or playing with her figurines, she was ALL OVER THE PLACE! She would never sit in her seat and would wonder off without ever looking back. She wouldnâ€™t focus on any task and could not follow simple directions. She was in diapers well past the age of three. She desperately struggled learning the concept of time, well into 10 years, and while other kids were bragging about their upcoming birthdays, she not only didnâ€™t know her birth date, but was unaware of what a birthday was. In addition, she couldnâ€™t grasp how long an hour was, a day, a week and months didnâ€™t even exist.
I can recall, clear as day, an incident when she was 9 and I was flying with her to drop her off at school. (she attended a boarding school for 3 years) The most funny, yet perplexing and bizarre, event occurred, that perfectly exemplified her disjointed reality. It was summer time, so when we awoke, it was already sunny and bright outside. We showered and dressed and drove to the airport ( at that time I was flight attendant, so she has been to many airports, many, many times, nothing new or unfamiliar here) and caught a flight to Philadelphia. We arrived at the Philly airport at about 6 am. We had to wait for a connecting flight to Harrisburg. Philadelphia is a bright shiny airport with lots of bright windows, and natural light, we knew it like the back of our hand. We hadnâ€™t eaten breakfast that morning and planned on eating breakfast in Philly. As we walked from the plane, through the concourse and into the food court, she spotted the Philly cheese steak joint (which was cooking breakfast stuffs) and turned to me and said,
â€œOh, I want a steak sub!â€
â€œYou canâ€™t have a sub for breakfast, they donâ€™t serve them at this timeâ€, I say.
She responds by pointing her scrawny index finger at the digital clock directly above the departing flights board and says, â€œBUT ITâ€S SIX Oâ€CLOCK!!!â€
I stop, confused, and look at her and at the clock and say,
â€œI know, itâ€™s six oâ€™clockâ€
â€œSo why canâ€™t I have a steak sub?â€, she says.
â€œBecause they donâ€™t serve them at this time, theyâ€™re serving breakfastâ€, I respond.
â€œBut why are they serving breakfast at six oâ€™clock?, she asks.
â€œITâ€S SIX Oâ€CLOCK IN THE MORNING!!!â€, I finally snap.
She turns her head with a puzzled look and says, â€œHuh?â€
I repeat, â€œItâ€™s six oâ€™clock in the morning, you canâ€™t eat a sub at six oâ€™clock in the morning.â€
And so she responds with a completely bewildered look,
â€œItâ€™s six oâ€™clock in the morning?â€
I say, â€œYEEEES!â€
She stands there with a disappointed and confused expression and sayâ€™s, â€œOoooh, I thought it was afternoon.â€
â€œDonâ€™t you remember that we just got up two hours ago and went to the airport and caught an early morning flight? Where have you been between the time we left home and the time we got here? Were we on the plane THAT long?
At this point I put my head down, and wonder how is this child going to survive in this world, when at 9, she canâ€™t even tell the difference between early morning and early evening?
She did not understand money for many years. She could not understand that this shiny piece of metal or this green piece of paper represented money. She didnâ€™t grasp the concept that something like a green piece of paper or shiny piece of metal was a symbolic representation of worth. It took a lot of explaining and convincing that we werenâ€™t trying to cheat her when we took away her five single dollar bills and replaced them with one five dollar bill. So when other kids her age were running to the ice cream truck with dollars in their hands or coins in their pockets, she would much rather pass on the treat, than struggle with figuring out how to go to the counter, how to ask for the ice cream, how to hand the cashier the money, how to then take the ice cream and then wait for the change.
And this is STILL a problem. She is 12. When I was 12, I was showing my boobies to boys and trying to manipulate them (or at least thinking I could) into liking me and asking me to be their girlfriend. Faben, on the other hand, squirms and pleads incessantly if I ask her to return a movie to the Blockbuster counter. I can forget trying to ask her to pay for the late charges with the 5 bucks I try to slip into her hand.
And yes, Iâ€™ve not only shown her how to do it, with me by her side, but Iâ€™ve tried to utilize situations in which I know she wants something REALLY bad, and will have to overcome her anxiety in order to get it. In those situations, she usually decides she doesnâ€™t want it THAT bad, and will do without.
Which brings me to the next issue. She is a minimalist. She rarely asks for anything. Occasionally, sheâ€™ll point out sheâ€™d like a particular video game or DVD, but never any clothes, shoes or make up. No spending money, no trips to the mall, no begging, no crying, no pouting. Getting her into the mall, is like pulling teeth, and once there, you can't get her to pick anything out for herself. There have been times, where my mom literally forces her to pick out a toy to buy, because if you ask her what she wants, sheâ€™ll usually say she doesnâ€™t need anything. . And even then, sheâ€™ll pick out the tini-tiniest toy ever made. A rubber bouncy ball. A pencil. A 2in. plastic T-Rex. And if sheâ€™s really feels like splurging, she might get the mesh bag full of marbles.
This past school year, she has worn the same pair of sneakers, every single stinking day of the year. From last August till this May, even when the sole started flapping and after she pulled half of it off, she sayâ€™s she does not need another pair of shoes. When she ran out of eraser for her drawing pencils (sheâ€™s switched from pen to pencil as her drawing developed), she made sure she used every tiny crumb of the nonexistent eraser, and then reused the used crumbs. She once decided to postpone her birthday for the following month, because she could not think of anything she really wanted as a present. This is also the kid, who at the age of 5, upon returning from Disneyworld, says, â€œyou know, Disneyworld is not as magical as they make it appear on TV.â€ Till this day, she has no desire to return.
I know it looks like Iâ€™m painting a picture of somber, melancholy kid, who finds no pleasure in living, but surprisingly at home, she laughs, plays, tickles, and remains consistently up-beat, happy and content.
So whatâ€™s there to complain about?
Because she requires very little, I have very little leverage when it comes to punishing her. Things donâ€™t mean much, so taking them away doesnâ€™t either. Friends are unnecessary, so making her stay in the house in no punishment at all. There isnâ€™t much that I can take away and there is little incentive for her to get it back. I will not and have not, ever forbidden her to draw, as punishment, because that is the ONLY emotional outlet she has. Even though, she may be happy at home, unless she is homeschooled, she needs to deal with the real world and it is in the real world, where her picture turns a little grayer.
As Faben stands on the threshold of her teenage years, now that puberty has arrived, things are getting more difficult for her. As she gets older more is expected of her and from her, especially at school. Sheâ€™s uncomfortable with her new body and even tried to completely hide the fact that she started her period. She stuffed maxi pads into our toilet and clogged the entire sewer system. She would not admit that she got her period and only after the plumber, after two days of snaking, pulled out a maxi pad, only then, did she come clean. School has always been a very, very sore subject for everyone else involved. Kindergarten started off with a crash. Even though Faben has not had any past behavioral problems such as having an attitude, being disrespectful or disobedient, she had a myriad of other issues. Sitting in her seat, was impossible, listening to the teacher was sporadic and inconsistent, finishing or starting assignments was always an issue and completing her homework was just plain torture. Her 26 year veteran kindergarten teacher said she was the worst kid sheâ€™s ever had in her entire teaching history, and kindergarten quickly turned into a nightmare. Sheâ€™d panic each morning, begging me not to take her to school. She attended both day care and preschool and managed fairly well but only because those programs had minimal structure when compared to kindergarten.
When I no longer could stand watching her cry and plead each and every morning, I decided to succumb to the pressure I was receiving from the teachers and give her her first psychological evaluation for ADHD and other learning disorders.
It was a massive ordeal. The Sweet Home school district requested reports form parents, grandparents, teacher as well as direct classroom observations and of courseâ€¦.. testingâ€¦.lots and lots of testing. Ironically, Faben completed the tests without any attention problems. But staying on task in the classroom was clearly a problem. She drew on her desk or crawled under it, talked to herself continuously and wandered around the classroom especially when everyone was seated.
After days of poking and prodding her maladapted brain, the school district came back with a verdict. They discovered that she was a genius! 99th percentile for the performance scale and 97th percentile over all. Which meant that only 3% of the population tests higher than her. Here is an excerpt from the very official report I received.
â€œOn the performance section, scores were consistently achieved in the average to very superior range. Fabenâ€™s score of 143 places her above the 99th percentile as compared to her same age peers. Faben displays strengths with visual motor coordination, the ability to see spatial relationships, the synthesis of part to whole relationships, and visual comprehension of both abstract and familiar stimuliâ€
Well, Iâ€™ll be damned! Sheâ€™s has the ability to see spatial relationships! A quick at her artwork would make that apparent. Mr. Psychologist, if you would have asked me, I could have told you that much! So my question to Mr. Psychologist and his supporting staff remainedâ€¦what good does the 97th or 99th percentile do me, when my kid can't tell if its morning or goddamn night!!! Is Mr. Psychologist aware, that I had to wipe my kids ass till the age of damn near 6 because she just could not get how to get the shit out from between her ass crack? Does he know that I had to tell her, until she was damn near 12, what to wash each and EVERY SINGLE TIME she took a shower or bath.
â€œDo I have to wash my hair?â€
â€œIs that all?â€
â€œWell, what else do I have to wash then?â€
â€œWhat do you mean what else? You have to wash your hair, your pits, your butt, youâ€™re your crotch. All of those are requiredâ€¦the rest is optional. Why do you keep asking me this each and every single day?â€
â€œWell, just in case.â€
â€œJust in case, why?â€
â€œJust in case one day, I donâ€™t have to wash one of those.â€
â€œOh my holy biscuits and toast! Whyâ€¦whyâ€¦why?
And, Mr. Psychologist, can I also ask you what good is the 99th percentile, when half of the time she came out of the shower with hair washed in CONDITIONER? And what can the 99th percentile do for her when it still takes her 3 hours to get dressed in the morning, another 3 hours to get undressed into her pajamas and roughly 4.5 tormenting hours to do her homework. Homework, that is only helpful if she remembered to bring it home, and yet still only if she managed not to loose it somewhere between her classroom and my kitchen?
Mr. Psychologist, that 99th percentile ainâ€™t worth shit, when all the basic daily functions can be found in that missing 1%.
And so their verdict was inconclusive. She displayed ADHD symptoms, but had no problem completing the tests. So they recommended behavioral modification for the class room, which looked very promising on paper but lacked the time, the resources and the patience of the staff to carry it though. From kindergarten forward, I received weekly phone calls stating that Faben is such a sweet girl, and sheâ€™s SO, SO, SO bright and truly talentedâ€¦â€¦BUTâ€¦â€¦consistently fails to complete or even start her class work and is disruptive to the classroom. The teachers always said that even as she was doing minimal class work she managed to do well on tests and examination, and thus, was capable of maintaining Aâ€™s and Bâ€™s. But! I was forewarned that each year would get progressively more difficult and that they were certain this year was the last of easy living. But she managed to get through K-6 with good marks and I began to think they were all crazy and delusional.
This is the year that our luck has run dry. Shit has hit the fan and everything is deteriorating exponentially. And now, when sheâ€™s failing classes, getting in serious trouble for misbehaving which in turn has precipitated the formation of a rift the size of grand canyon in our relationship, now because the moon and the sun and galaxies have aligned themselves just right, and she still does not know how to make herself pay attention, it is now that my daughter tells me she wants to see a counselor and yells in retaliation to my latest temper explosion , with a bitter growl, â€œWHY DOESNâ€™T ANYONE BELIEVE ME?â€ and ends with, an â€œIâ€™d rather just dieâ€, that rings much too clear with angry defeat.
We did the Adderal thing, for a few of her elementary years, and it did help with sitting still and paying attention in school. But taking speed helps you none with ass wiping, shower taking and general functioning in the outside world. Faben on medication was like having the walking dead, with an attitude, roaming the house, she lost too much weight, never ate, and developed a strange affinity for solving math problems. But she hated feeling that way and missed being cooky and crazy within the confines of her fantasy world. And yes, she was taking the smallest doseâ€¦cut in half.
It is then, that I caught the bright idea that it might help if I send her to a boarding school. I thought that if sheâ€™s forced to be around other kids she might pick up the social skills sheâ€™s missing and I hoped that positive peer pressure might incline her to get her shit together. I thought the uber-structure of a boarding school might help her keep on task and motivate her to join our dimension.
But, for two, of the three school years she spent at Milton Hershey, I was wrong. The strangest part of it all is that, the one year where she flourished and blossomed, was the year smack dab in the middle of two overwhelmingly trying years.
The school hires pseudo house parents, whoâ€™s only job is to be substitute parents to the 10 children that are residing in the house. They are always a married couple, who most likely have a kid or two of their own. They get a very cushy compensation package, and eat and live rent fee. There are nearly 150, million dollar homes, (and Iâ€™m not even shitting you right now) that have been built specifically for housing students, and these houses are scattered around the campus. Everything from underwear to hats and mittens, is paid for, medical and dental care included, and it is completely tuition. The kids not only have an Olympic size pool, but also a year round professional ice skating rink. The gyms are right on par with Ballyâ€™s or BAC, and include indoor running tracks, professional size basket ball courts and state of the art weight and cardio rooms. There is the standard football stadium, soccer field, and out door running tracks. The art center, not only has a genuine gallery, that regularly has showings, but it also has studios for every medium under the sun. Fully supplied and equipped are: sculpting studios, pottery studios, dark room, and numerous painting and drawing studios. In addition, there is a TV studio and a radio station that the students run. They regularly have concerts, and a two million dollar discothÃ¨que built for upper classmen. The school cafeteria serves hot and cold dishes including daily soups and a stocked salad bar, and home cooked dinners can be delivered by the school to each individual student home. In the simpler times, before 9/11, the senior class was given a trip that could have included any one of the 7 continents, unfortunately only US trips are permitted now. All juniors get their own laptops, and everyone is encouraged to take advantage of the numerous extracurricular programs. They can ride horses, heard sheep and goats, participate in the 4-H club or tend the guinea pigs and rabbits. They have horticultural centers and nearly 10,000 acres of land. When Faben was a member of the sheep club, she not only learned how to heard the sheep, but also how to sheer them, feed them, and maintain their good health
She had an opportunity to participate in the Cow Parade, which is similar to our painted Buffaloâ€™s that were scattered throughout the city, but on a much larger international scale. Running simultaneously with the Harrisburg cow parade, there were cow parades in Sweden, England, and Moscow.
And as if all of that is not enough, the real kicker out of this whole ordeal was that the school paid for your ENTIRE undergraduate degree(room, board, books, computer, and transportation to and from home on holidays), regardless of where you went! (i.e. Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth)
Yes, I nearly gasped for air too, the first time I heard it.
But all was not cake and roses, children admitted into this school, were from low income families. Although they had to be of average to high intelligence and generally behaviorally problem free, they came from a single parent homes, foster care, or other unstable environments. The school population was not the worldliest America had to offer, and had many obvious issues. This school hoped to change that.
It was very hard from some parents to leave their children with complete strangers, and many children had a difficult time adjusting to new rules and regulations, that often felt too restrictive or too overbearing. The drop out rate was significant, and children would feed off of each other, and complain to each other about how hard and unfair this new life was. They complained how much they despised their houseparents and missed their momâ€™s. But, the school did serve as a haven to many who would have feared much worse if left in their original environments. There is a significant number of alumni and attending students who not only cope with the structured environment but thrive within it. And those thriving students took advantage of all the opportunities that were made available to them.
Unfortunately, Faben, was not one of those kids. Not the first year at least. She despised her housemother, but did not tell me until well into the second half of the year. She never behaved badly at home, but would not finish her chores on time, or if she did, they would be so half assed that they might as well not have been done. This was a significant problem, as all kids were expected to follow all procedures and regulations, as interpreted by the houseparents. And so they followed procedures and implemented the proper punishments, which turned out to be completely ineffective and counterproductive. She accepted her punishments and they continually increased in severity meanwhile, her school performance AND home behavior deteriorated quickly. Her room was stripped, she had a 7:30 bed time each and every night, did not receive an allowance, ate at a separate table and became an outcast. Both the house parents and Faben did not inform me of what was going on until it was too late. She had been living like that for 6 months before she told me had no toys, no free time, no friends, nothing. And I spoke to her several times a week, and every single week she said everything was fine, until six months down the road, my 8 year old meek child wrote a letter to her housemother detailing how many different ways she could die.
This was the point at which all the intervention and psychological teams became involved and realized that this kid will never improve within the current situation. I fought tooth and nail, to get her transferred to a different home, with different house parents, and they told me over and over that she was just being manipulative, and wanted to go home. Indeed, she did want to go home, because no matter how hard she tried, she could not do what the housemother asked her to do. I believe because she disliked her so much, she shut herself down and became completely unreceptive. So no one could quite understand why Faben never mentioned to me, nor to the house mother that she disliked her. I tried to explain to them, that sheâ€™s not like the other kids, and that she processed her feelings unlike you or I. For Faben, negative enforcement does not work, and causes a snow ball effect that ends in an avalanche. Punishment works on normal kids. They want things, they want to go places, they want to be with their friends. You can strip everything but the socks off of Faben, and as long as she has a piece of paper and a pencil and her own company to talk to, sheâ€™ll manage. And by the time things escalate themselves to that point, Faben is completely unreachable, boiling with resentment, and determined not to let the other side win. The problem is two fold. She is so pent up with anger and fury that feeding the fire will, with 100 percent certainty, never result in her changing her behavior, AND, she REALLY CANNOT help being so forgetful, slow, off-course, side tracked, disorganized and distracted. And no, she is not manipulating you, because weâ€™ve had this discussion over many angry tears, that if she could do better, donâ€™t you think she would?
And so once aging the psychologists at the boarding school, did all their evaluations and observations and tests, and once again they called me with the good newsâ€¦.that my kid is friggin Einstein!
Congratulations! Once again, I could have told and HAVE told you that much, and once again, being fucking Einstein didnâ€™t help her out of damn near solitary confinement. And so they consulted and discussed and threw ideas out at each other, and made plans for this big intervention, and ignored me when I told them, at this point, there was nothing that could be done for her if she stayed in that house with that woman. But they didnâ€™t believe me, and said she is a perfectly nice woman who follows all the rules and does things by the book, and there was no reason for Faben to hate her. She could have been Mary fucking Poppins with M&Mâ€™s for eyes and lollypops for fingers as far as they were concerned, but her tone of voice and her demeanor screamed agitation, discontent and disgust. I felt it too, I noticed HOW she talked, not what she said, but how she said it. For a kid who is so off the rocker as it is, little things like that are monumental. I reasoned with Faben to stay out the year, and we would try a different house the following year and if that still didnâ€™t work, than this school was not for her. She agreed.
The following year, it was as if a magic door was opened, and Faben was Miss USA! Essentially the rules were the same, the chores had to be done, home work needed to be finished but all her problems disappeared. She was the best student in her class and the best kid in the house. I would have to suspect that these houseparents were less picky, and let a lot more slide. Yeah, the clothes were not folded neatly in the closed, but at least they were there. The drawers in her desk were stuffed with papers galore, but they were closed, so no one really saw. So the pressure was lifted. She didnâ€™t feel boggled down with details that previously overwhelmed her. She was happy, she liked the school, she liked the house parents, she even embraced a couple of friends.
The friend issue has always been tough, because itâ€™s not that she can't get a friend, she just doesnâ€™t have the patience for them. They become a distraction to what is going on in her head. I can clearly recall several times at home, where she politely asked a friend whoâ€™s been over for more than a few hours to go home. That always stupefied them and they just assumed that she didnâ€™t like them anymore or that she was mad, when in actuality, she was just had enough for the time being, and wanted them to leave before she would get agitated and aggravated. Over stimulation, maybe?
But as luck would have it, the housing system is divided into three sections; K-5, 6-8, 9-12, which means, that certain homes, house certain age groups. This house was a K-5, and Faben was finishing her 5th year. The following year, she would have to move yet again and not long after the new year started, everything went down hill. All the progress went out the back door, and within a few months Faben was back to restriction and solitary life. And again, she did not like the house mother. And although I could tell she was definitely better than the fist one we had, she was most certainly nothing like the second one. There were times when I could talk some sense into Faben, try to use reasoning, or tell her to ignore her, and it might work for a week or two but did little to stop the down hill slide already in progress.
I have learned to recognize when that happens. When I start to loose her. I still may, at times, not see it as quickly as I should but I usually know when to pack up my battalion and retreat. I can tell you honestly, that once she gets past that pivotal point, she would be willing to go live in a detention center than cave in and although some of you might think that might go do her some good, in all honesty, I think it would completely destroy her. Sheâ€™s now hitting her teens. I can remember myself as a teenager. I was awful. I ran away from home twice, got pregnant and kept the baby on purpose to piss my mother off, just because I felt she was being unreasonable. I remember the anger boiling over within me with hatred and fury because she was fighting me to prove a point that did not need to be proven. And, I can see the same thing in Fabenâ€¦only worse. I had a clearer outlook on life, and knew the steps I needed to take in order to be successful, I knew I had to finish school even if I had a child and even if I hated my mother. But Faben lives in her own reality, and is lost in her head so much of the time, I am afraid that to combine her anger and the defeatist attitude she adopts, would be just completely and utterly detrimental. I can see her becoming withdrawn and depressed, feeling like life will never get easier. I can see her being self destructive, cutting herself or attempting suicide. She has that dark creaky staircase in the back of her mind that I didnâ€™t have, and I can see it being a staircase that would be horribly difficult to climb back out of.
We went to the pediatrician Thursday, and as weâ€™re sitting and waiting for the physician to come back with the prescriptions, she turns to me and says, â€œYou know, I think, when I get older, I might consider getting my breasts completely removed.â€ Although I donâ€™t actually believe as an adult woman she actually WOULD want to chop off her breast, it scares me that sheâ€™s even thinking about such morbid things. She says she doesnâ€™t want to get married, never wants children, and wants to live alone. I do know that she is still only 12 years old, and I know that her feelings will most likely change, but I have LIVED with this kid for the first 12 years, and nothing that sheâ€™s done, from birth till now, has been easy, worry free, or within the accepted â€œnormâ€. I know how detached she is, and I know that her brain does not process information the way average Janeâ€™s does. But I do know that it can also turn in the productive and creative direction, and that my job is to help guide her â€¦towwwwards the LIGHTâ€¦.
I am starting to see her become more and more comfortable with being the outcast. And sheâ€™s beginning to think that getting in trouble for talking in class is an acceptable alternative to trying to find a solution to this ongoing problem. She beginning to think that she is just THAT weird, and that she is unable to do what everyone keeps harping about. And sheâ€™s beginning to reason that if you can't join â€˜em, might as well fight â€˜em. Most adults know where that can take her and that the consequences can sometimes be irreparable, but I feel like she is giving up. And there has been no one that has given me any solid answers or provided a direction as to how to handle this dilemma. She not quite ADHD, not depressed, not manic, not bipolar, not quite angry, not unhappy. Sheâ€™s apparently terribly smart, but unable to get her shit together. She tremendously talented, but not very motivated to do much with it. She doesnâ€™t seek out attention and only appreciates it when given in very small amounts (and always in private). Sheâ€™s a loner, but she enjoys my company, however, I can't be her mother AND her friend.
There is nothing to put a finger on, yet things are slipping right though my fingers and I need to figure out a way to catch her. We are trying the meds again, and taking her to see the counselor she asked me about, but already sheâ€™s having second thoughts about speaking to this stranger. She was on punishment for a couple of months, for failing social studies, where she had no TV, no computer. But that does not motivate her at all. And she still does not remember to write down the homework regularly, AND there are times when she does do the homework but forgets to turn it in. She talks in one specific class constantly and has failed it last marking period. She is on her way to failing it again. She refuses to bring the signature sheet she receives at school, for me to sign, and so goes to detention again. There is nothing else I can physically do to make her complete her work, and stop yapping in class. She accepts all the consequences. She would accept being locked in a maximum prison. There is no motivator for her. The cycle will continue to spiral downwards, and sheâ€™s going to throw in the towel. And no, there is nothing that the school districts can do to help. They canâ€™t hire a more engaging teacher just because my kid is spacey and would rather fail than do her homework. Half of her classes she can get straight Aâ€™s in, the other half she is completely failing. Math and Science are not a problem, English and Social Studies are a nightmare. No one knows what to do, or where turn. Iâ€™m tired and frustrated and at the end of my rope. She is indifferent to her future, to people, to life. But unfortunately she fails to understand that the real world says, tough luck kiddo, you either suck it up or you get sucked down, and rarely gives second chances.
And so, Iâ€™ve got a problem and no solutions, and my heart is heavy.
Location: Buffalo, NY
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