Meghan Tells It

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Healing a Young Heart October 6, 2016

Filed under: Family,Homeschooling — Meghan Hamilton @ 4:32 am
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When Alex was a toddler he had no reason to think about other people’s opinions of him and what he liked or didn’t like. Then he went to preschool. Did you know that peer pressure starts in preschool? It does.

Until he went to preschool, he had no feelings or associations with colors. He simply colored with whatever color suited his fancy in that moment. At preschool he learned that pink and purple were for girls. No amount of reassuring him that colors are for everyone would convince him to use those colors for the next four years.

When he was in kindergarten, my husband and I grew out our hair to donate. Alex tried, but the other kids teased him for having girl hair. So he insisted that we take him to get it cut.

By first grade he was a basket case. He was so worried about what his classmates would have to say about his clothes, his hair, the way he played a game, anything really, that he cried when it was time to go to the bus. Somewhere along the line he had lost his sense of self, and with it, his self-worth.

By October 2014 I decided enough was enough. I convinced him to hang in there until Christmas. Then we began our homeschooling journey. He continued to worry. He was mean to a lot of kids for a while. He had a lot of healing to do.

In the homeschooling world people talk about “deschooling.” It’s the process of letting go of the public school mindset and model in order to make the education fit the child rather than making the child fit the education. For Alex, this went deeper than adjusting to a new curriculum and schedule. This process went to his very sense of self. Educationally speaking, the rule of thumb is for every year in public school, it takes a month to switch gears and adjust. For Alex, changing the education plan went reasonably well. But it took a year and a half to undo the psychological damage.

He first showed signs of his true self being rebuilt when he voluntarily started choosing to use pink and purple in his art projects. Then at the start of the summer he chose sparkly gold flip-flops to wear for the season. I warned him some people might have a problem with that. He didn’t care, “Because who doesn’t love gold sparkly shoes?” I held my breath. If anyone gave him a hard time, I didn’t hear about it and he loved those shoes.

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Here he is, not blending with the crowd.

A few weeks ago his Halloween costume arrived in the mail. I asked him to try it on. Not only did it fit, but he loved it so much that he wanted to wear it everywhere. It’s a bright yellow Pikachu body suit. There is no blending into the crowd when wearing it. He wore it to the playground. Some former classmates were there and started their teasing. I watched to see how it would play out.

Alex stood up for himself. He told them they were being bullies and that he didn’t like them. They left him alone, then soon left the area. He continued to wear the outfit after they left. No one would rain on his Pikachu parade. Most people love seeing him wear the outfit and smile and say so. If you see a kid wearing something outrageous, say something nice. It helps them more than you know.

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Making his project without worrying about the other kids.

Today we went to a homeschool program where he was acquainted with a few of the other kids, but most he hadn’t met before. (We were in Providence, about an hour away from home and away from our usual group.) He knows one of the kids well and they don’t get along at all. He wasn’t distressed about it. He didn’t try to prove himself worthy of her attention. He just went about the business of doing his project.

I used to scratch my head in wonder about why it was so important for him to impress people who really didn’t like him. It takes so much energy and is generally fruitless. To see him put his energy into enjoying himself was wondrous!

As a parent, I want my child to have confidence. I want him to do the things that make him happy without worrying about everyone else’s opinion. I’m happy to see him becoming himself.

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Expectation vs. Reality: Marriage February 7, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I always have expectations.  They rarely match up to reality exactly.  Some things come close and some things are vastly different.  I suppose that is what makes life interesting.  It can also make life vexing. 

Today I want to talk about my expectations of what my marriage would be and what the reality of it has turned out to be. 

Expectation: Mr. Man would work and support the family financially.

Reality:  His bipolar has progressed to a level of severity that prevents him from working.  Fortunately he qualifies for Social Security.  But it isn’t enough.  So I must work.  I like working, but juggling it with a toddler is a challenge.   

Additionally, this means that I have him at home all the time with all of the ADD symptoms that often accompany Bipolar Disorder.  So, his clothes, dirty dishes, books, trash, and anything else he has recently touched, are dropped wherever he happens to be when he turns to the next item of interest. 

Why is this a problem?  I am already struggling as a housekeeper.  His ability to destroy a clean space in under thirty seconds is beyond frustrating.  I can not keep up.  Add in all of the toys our society seems to think a small child needs, and our apartment looks like the pictures of tornado victims’ homes.  Really. 

Expectation:  We would sleep in the same bed and have sex regularly.

Reality:  We started out in the same bed, but due to his resuming smoking and snoring, I sent him to the couch.  When he resolved those issues, he decided to stay on the couch.  I do not like sleeping alone.  So, I have not forced my son to go to his own bed when he decides to sleep with me.  Apparently, he doesn’t like sleeping alone either.  As you can imagine, this has had an impact on our sex life. 

The other major impacts on sex?  When Mr. Man is off meds, he is, to be technical, “hypersexual,” which means that he really can’t get enough.  His demands had become so strong, that it pushed me away.  (Not to mention that the smell of smoke to a non-smoker is very very very nasty and a major turn-off.)  When Mr. Man is on meds, his sex drive is all but turned off.  In some ways this is a major relief for both of us.  But somewhere I would like to find a happy medium. 

I have learned that even though I don’t get as much physical affection as I would like, this does not mean he doesn’t love me.  It just means that he is not at a point in his life where he can express himself physically.  Part of living with his illness is that he changes drastically from time to time.  That means I must change with him or end things.  At the moment, I am changing and adjusting.  No need to end it.

Expectation: I will have to do most of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc…

Reality:  He wanted to learn to cook!  I taught him and he loves to cook!!!!!  I can not say how much of a relief and delight this is most days.  I can cook, but it is a chore.  Because I taught him how I like things, many dinners are made to my tastes.  All I have to do is mention it!  Hooray! 

Laundry is split between us.  I have a bum knee and have difficulty going up and down stairs.  We live on the second floor and the washer and dryer are in the basement.  Mr. Man takes care of lugging it up and down for me without complaint.  I fold and put away most of the time.  All right, we often live out of the baskets, but hey, at least we have clean clothes to wear on a regular basis without further wear and tear on my aching joints.

Cleaning is mostly up to me.  But he does the dishes and cat litter boxes most days.  I take care of the bathroom and vacuuming and changing of sheets and whatever else needs doing.  Not a bad split.

Expectation: We would be able to have open and honest communication at any time.

Reality: While I am always honest with him, and he with me, communication is sometimes difficult.  Bipolar takes Mr. Man deep inside himself and he has difficulty coming to the surface to see and hear what other people are saying or doing.  Literally, he can’t always see and hear other people.  Crazy Boy and I often repeat ourselves, shout, and repeatedly tap him to get his attention.  So sometimes things go unsaid.  It’s just not always worth the effort to get his attention.  I know it isn’t because he doesn’t care, but this is one of the ways his illness affects our lives.  If I need love and understanding in a tangible way, I seek out a friend more often than my own husband.  The times that he is able to see and hear me are made more sweet for knowing what an effort he is putting in to be there for me.

Conclusion:  Just because the expectations and realities are not always a match, sometimes reality is livable or even better than the expectation.  Mr. Man and I don’t have a traditional marriage.  We don’t have a marriage like either of our parents have.  But we do have a relationship that seems to work for us.  Isn’t that what it’s about?  Making it work? 

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Feel free to comment below, or find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/meghantellsit for a quicker response. 

 

The not so writing life November 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meghan Hamilton @ 7:07 pm
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I love to write.  I have written several books.  But I lack motivation.  I have not shopped my stories around.  Now they seem trite and not very good because I last looked at them when I was about 25 or so.  Now that I am 37, I am making another stab at it.  Of course, the daily obstacles to writing are much bigger.  There are facebook accounts to check, work to do so not only I, but my family can eat, facebook to check, dinner to make, facebook.  You get the idea. 

Happily, I have an idea for a new story with some new characters.  If they get out of my head and onto paper, I will gladly share them with the world.  It’s time for this little girl to grow up and find herself a job, not just and income. 

As I hate “New Year’s resolutions,” I will make a general resolution to write daily.  Even if I only get a few words down onto the page, I will do it.  Even if it means just five minutes before passing out in bed, I will get a sentence or two written.  I am counting on the blogosphere to keep me on my game here.  Check in and ask if I have done any story writing lately.  You might want to find me on facebook though.  It’s where I am most often. 

You can find me on facebook as Workin Momma or click here: http://www.facebook.com/meghantellsit