Saturday, August 26, 2006

On Men & Power

"A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired."
-- Alexander Hamilton (The Farmer Refuted, 23 February 1775) - Founder of the NY Post - the oldest continuously published newspaper in the country.

A curse passed on

I;’ve been quiet for the last few days because it was easier.

It was easier not to sit in front of a blank screen and have the truth seep into my consciousness and torture my brain. Well, it seems that the more I tried to push things out of my consciousness, the more it would come to haunt me. As a result this past week has been nothing but torture. Torture from my son; torture by my house guests (Bro & Sister in Law - BIL & SIL), and self-torture from my subconscious dogging me constantly at my heals. All the while, struggling with not wanting to look at the truth, which I’'ve been trying so hard to deny or delay facing.

It all started by me reading this post on Bou’'s blog. It finally brought everything to before me, making it impossible for me to continue to avert or deny the truth any longer. As a result, I’ve finally realized that my son has taken after me in more ways than one. This past week, while getting phone calls at work from my SIL, BIL & son, all complaining about each other with stories on how they were torturing each other over my son's book reports, I told them I'd listen in through speaker phone and intervene when necessary. While trying to get my son to write 1 single book report, it was painfully apparent to me (as I listened to them silently) that my son processes information differently than most. Well, they all gave up on each other and I was faced with doing much damage control before my son starts school next Monday.

This morning, I finally cried UNCLE, as we lagged further behind on my son’s assigned summer reading/writing/book report schedule. There was nothing else I could do but finally google what the symptoms were for someone in his age group. I’'ve posted these below so you all can get an inkling of what I’m going through with him. He’s luckier than most though, I'’ve been trained in different methodologies that have enabled me to learn on my own once I was diagnosed with a mild form of dyslexia. I'’ve been using a few of these techniques with him for the math and it's worked great. Unfortunately where I fail and have no experience is in helping him with his hand writing. It’s not only illegible, to get him to write barely neatly is worse than pulling teeth and it has finally brought me to my knees. Below is part of an email I received from an expert, whom I contacted via their website, inquiring about classifying my son’s issues, has enlightened me quite a bit. Now I begin the work phase.

The difficulties noted below are often associated with your son’s age group. A qualified diagnostician (see attached list for the centers in your area) can test your son to determine if he is truly experiencing one of the many forms of dyslexia, and to what extent.

- May be unable to follow multi-step directions or routines.
- May have poor "fine motor" coordination.
- Has difficulty spelling phonetically.
- Makes consistent reading and spelling errors in common words
- Relies on guessing and context.
- May have difficulty learning new vocabulary.
- May transpose number sequences and confuse arithmetic signs (+ - x / =).
- May have trouble remembering facts.
- May be slow to learn new skills; relies heavily on memorizing without understanding.
- May have difficulty planning, organizing and managing time, materials and tasks.
- Often uses an awkward pencil grip.

Finally, I read this today and it literally broke my heart because I remember being the one sitting at the kitchen table going through this myself:

"The frustration of children with dyslexia often centers on their inability to meet expectations. Their parents and teachers see a bright, enthusiastic child who is not learning to read and write correctly. Time and again, dyslexics and their parents hear, “He’s such a bright child; if only he would try harder.” Ironically, no one knows exactly how hard the dyslexic is trying."

I remember almost not being able to graduate 2nd in my class in high school because my Math teacher couldn't decipher how on earth I always got the right answers on my tests, yet I couldn't logically prove my work via complete algebraic and linear equations. It was only when my State Exams were challenged, and I had to go before their Exam Board and take the exam while 3 testers stood over me, that everyone realized something was wrong. One of the tester's asked me a few questions about my work after I completed doing a formula and asked me to solve the problem outloud. It was then they realized that not everything that was in my head made it on paper, and thus I was identified as possibly dyslexic. Further testing proved it, and I was able to keep my honor's/salutatorian status at graduation. The diagnosis was liberating in many ways, but this is when the experience with my curse first began to change.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Il m'aime...

This evening, I was brought back to a gentler time and a sweeter place that I often long to revisit. A time when the sound of crickets and soft lapping waves lulled me to sleep every night, and in the mornings, I'd be awakened by the calling of sweet song birds. Barely awake, I'd jump out of bed, and while still in my pajamas, and without even stopping to put on my shoes, I'd run barefoot out of the house and cross the road. Without slowing down I continued running full speed onto the beach all the way almost to the water’s edge. I was anxious to see if any of my make shift crab traps had caught anything the night before. To my amazement, and my mother’s horror, I would often arrive at breakfast with a bucketful of live crabs.

On nights like tonight, when I was restless or worried and thinking too much about all the unknown's in my life, I'd slowly walk across that same road to the beach, picking up a few wild flowers along the way, hoping that in my hand I’d have the right flower that would divine and secure my happy future.

I would usually sit in the same spot of sand, leaning my back on a low coconut tree that had grown sideways and in which someone had conveniently carved out a back rest. As I sat there, taking in the flower’s features, I'd pray to God in the sky for my heart's deepest desire to come true, and for a sign to somehow tell me to be patient for it was so. I'd sit there for what seemed like an eternity in a meditative trance, hoping that by staring at the flower I could pick the right moment for my destiny to unfold. I was afraid that one impetuous move or premature moment might wreak havoc with the rest of my life. At twelve, my future years loomed over me like a huge gray wall of water just waiting for the right moment to crash over me and begin the unbearably long sentence of living a life of discontented quietness and unfulfilled dreams that those around me seemed to live.

So I'’d sit and wait for the right time... the right moment to begin. Then, and only when I felt it was the right, divine moment, did my sweaty trembling hands begin the rituals as I whispered to God:
“Il m'aime... un peu, beaucoup, passionnĂ©ment, a la folie, pas du tout” (He loves me... a little, a lot, passionately, madly,or not at all.) If I was successful during the first flower I’d stop then and there having achieved the fate I had wanted. If I didn’'t I'’d move on the next flower, holding it interminably longer than the first, all in an effort to manipulate the desired outcome.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

No Matter

No matter where I go
No matter what I do
No mater what I see
my heart's still with you.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

An amazingly fun & magical day

Whenever a vacation starts off on a crappy note, there's no where to go but up!

Day 2 was a good day in my book, but day 3 was even better. An amazingly fun & magical day, that's how I'd describe today. After only a few hours sleep (my inlaws who were sleeping in a seperate bedroom across from the living room/dining area, Could be heard snoring @ alarming decibels even through 2 sets of closed doors), I rejuvinated with an incredible breakfast at our hotel. By 9:30am we were inside Magic Kingdom heading out on a lovely short ferry ride for Disney's main land. Upon arriving we decided to take train tour to see what appealed to us most. Having identified the areas where we wanted visit & decided on the order we were off for a day of pleasure. Thanks to the incredible Tips & Ride Suggestions I got from Bou of & VW of I was able to tackle that park with a relaxed attitude & with ease.
We only stopped briefly for lunch (as the only fair was crappy food [fried food & ice cream] and I had to be mindful of my pre-arranged dinner date w/a very special, fun & handsome mystery man. But more on him later.
In all, we did not have to wait longer that 15min for any non-fast pass rides and only short wait times (around 30 min) for Fast Pass rides. 
We had such an amazing time that I decided we'd all get together to watch the parade & fireworks. It was fun & awesome.
To quote my son: "It was an amazing day! One I'll never forget!" Yes indeed.
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