Thursday, January 25, 2024

The Menagerie Book 1 Review

The Menagerie is a middle grade novel written by the author of the Wings of Fire series, Tui T. Sutherland.  I have read the first seven books of the Wings of Fire series, because my kids love them so much. However, I could never quite get inside their dragon world as well as I wanted. Something about the anthropomorphism that gets me all in a haze of understanding. However, in this series, which The Menagerie is just the first book in the same titled series, I didn't have that befuddlement as much. I could envision each scene and actually could feel for the characters some more. It's not the most in depth of novels, but the fun back and forth from the mythical aspects and reality is fun. How they have to be hidden in the real world but still exist. In some ways it has a Percy Jackson aspect to it but without all the fighting and gore. The fighting and gory scenes were also some of what I didn't enjoy about the Wings of Fire series. There are mishaps and adventures and hidden twists in this one and it will make you stick it out to the end. If you like Griffins, then this book is for you. 

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Neurodivergence part 1

There is a series called Divergent by Veronica Roth. It's not the most amazing series ever, there are things that could be developed more but it brings you along for the ride in a way that I, at least, identify with it. The society tries to pin each member into a faction that they identify with based on a test. Cue the personality tests, right? The protagonist however is split between two factions and she has to choose one or be eliminated. I feel for this character in this way, she isn't like her parents and she isn't just different in one way, it's in many ways, she's divergent after all. 

I have taken so many personality tests in self discovery, I love personality tests. They are so fun to try on this or that idea. But really a lot of times, I often find myself split in between a few different categories. With the Myers-Briggs test, it's the E/I factor that often has me debating if I am an INFJ or an ENFJ. It feels like there is no clear answer. When it comes to the four temperaments, I feel mostly melancholic but also see a choleric and a phlegmatic, though that last one probably comes as a trauma response, oh life. And then you have the beloved enneagram that gets at one's core weaknesses. With the enneagram, I have typed myself anywhere from a 1 to an 9, but never a 3 or 7. Currently, I've landed on a 5w6, but really it could be a 6w5 depending on the day, because both are so very close to how I operate. But let's not forget those tests that label how you operate how to operate in strengths and weaknesses in the work place, the strengths finder test, and in that one I am all over the place, people cannot place me one bit. 

All of this is to say that as fun as it is to try on this or that, I know you can get stuck in being one thing, but hah, I really cannot be one thing. I want to try and understand myself, but in understanding myself it becomes more and more confusing. It would be nice to have more peace with this, right? Maybe that will happen in time, I can hope. 

In the last year, I had a behavioral evaluation for my son, who I thought was a quirky kid, and his school that I have him also thought he was a quirky kid. Well, he did turn out to be a quirky kid with like 4 different diagnoses that meant, he was neurodivergent. Applause, ladies and gentlemen. The divergent mom created a neurodivergent kid, who would have thought, huh? On top of that if you add in K's ADHD hyperfocus abilities, you know we are set to have a whole slew of quirky kids. And for sure we do. 

When I began to understand my oldest son's qualities, some of them I didn't have trouble with comprehending them, they weren't scary to me. With one in particular, it was more difficult to see. I was strongly questioning the diagnosis. "What do you mean he's autistic or special needs? Why do people keep saying that?" He's not like the autistic kids that I knew. It didn't matter that so many strangers and well meaning people had tried to tell me that my kid was extra special, or really for them he was so dang hard to control, they always had to call me for reinforcement, cue the homeschooling. He was so freaking smart and gregarious, that it worked for a good while to have the world be our school. With the diagnosis, when I dove deeper into it, it was like oh, ooooohhhh, I can see this. And then of course I thought about my other kiddos and for sure they all are quirky in their own rights too. I mean usually you don't have the principal having you tell you about melt down incidents for your 6 year old but mine totally does. However, again, what should I have expected? Nothing less than this, and actually it's pretty fascinating and I actually mostly love trying to help them be the best human being they can be. It's like the lab followed me home even though I gladly left academia behind. 

I'll add more to this soon, but I think I need to stop for today. So let's label this part 1 of ...

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Chicken encounters 1

Tiger likes to spend her days poking at anything and everything. She will poke at all human feet, even as they are moving. She will peck at the floor, she will peck at the door, she will peck at an apple core. Tiger makes sure she will get the first special bit of food. She will trample her fellow hens to make sure she will for sure get that treat, or be the first to anything ever. The one characteristic of Tiger that is in contrast to her aggressive is that she is the easiest to catch. She can be very docile in someone's arms, you can actually get her to fall asleep in your arms when you lay her on her back. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

When in conflict

 I have decided its a pretty taxing thing to feel in conflict always with the church you belong to. To know that you have thought about things a lot and have researched and listened to others, and just cannot have the point of things that you once did, it's a bit brain fraying. I've been watching what the people say that are still devout and its interesting because I think they simplify the situation so that there are no grey areas. But there are always grey areas, and most people live in the margins of those grey areas. To listen and to understand what is actually happening in a situation instead of just having a hard and fast rule takes time and effort. But I think we are better for it. I see this as a parent, it's easier to say no to all the things, but sometimes you have to give a yes where you normally would have a no. I wonder if perhaps its just easier to demonize the other viewpoint than it is to have compassion. It's so interesting to see how God shows up in different ways to different people. I know he's an all encompassing God, so in the end he can handle our differing ways of solving problems. However, it would be good to see more listening and learning to situations that are outside of your own. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

High School selections

 I can never quite think of a great title, but alas, I want to write. I have been dealing with high school applications for my oldest, and it has been a huge process. It is because we live in the city of Cleveland and there are just so many different choices. There are so many public magnet schools and then there are the private schools, and then there are the charter schools, and last the private charter schools. He has so far checked out 4 different schools. His first choice is a private school that is $34,000 a year to go. It feels preposterous and completely impossible to actually send him, but the thing is I love it too. 

 The high school is a mastery based concept high school. It's not the rat race of grades and "must get into college at all costs" high school. Instead its a model of real world problems where you dive deep and learn the things you need to learn along the way and then interact to solve a problem for a community business or organization. It feels like homeschooling at its finest but with the resources to actually be able to pull it off. 

I really, really hate the rat race of grades and such because its just not really how I think life should be. I also don't ever remember being stressed to the max as a high school student in that way and I was the valedictorian of my high school class. Why are we making the teenagers so stressed out about their life choices? All I think is that it mostly means that the teen will become burnt out. And perhaps this was the one thing that I was stressed out in, sports. I had gotten to a level of soccer that no longer felt fun and I didn't think it was worth doing it any more in that level. But that wasn't really the same stress of must achieve, but more so that I didn't want to do it anymore and so I ran instead. 

It is fascinating to see it through his eyes, and I think he definitely sees where I am coming from but also is his own person, and probably stresses a whole lot more about these things like his dad does. The first born child is geared toward people pleasing a bit. We shall see as it goes on, where he gets in and what he chooses come May. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Mother's Day

 So much of me hates Mother's Day. It embodies memories of fighting with my own mom, burying my baby, taking a kid to the ER and just all these expectations. Somehow I feel like it would be nice to just be taken care of all day, but to actually get that where I am in life, that's not going to happen, at least not by the people around me. I am going to get a massage, and I am sure there are other ways I could take care of myself. I don't think I'd mind sitting in the coffee shop by myself for breakfast and writing. Perhaps this is what I should do.  I love words of affirmation, so perhaps I will once again write some stories as words of affirmation to myself, that I am doing this motherhood thing. Yes, I think I just might do that. 

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Poem, 1.5

 To feed, to clothe, to give a roof over one's head. 

Those are the basics. 

 To be able to accept, hear, and understand. 

Those are the things that bring love. 

Somehow the latter is so much harder. 

Perhaps because we fight to still have the former. 

When will we learn.