All posts in Raising Monkey

Monkey Gets a Tutor.

This evening I did something I never thought I’d have to do. I signed the Monkey up for a twice weekly tutor.

(insert desperate sigh of agony)

Monkey is smart. He’s above average in reading and imagination but seems to get stuck in other areas of academics. Timed math tests kill him. Writing more than a few sentences frustrates him. Being taken away from art or science makes him frown. Music makes him dance but he’s not allowed to be too silly. P.E. class has turned him off because the teacher says he’s too slow sometimes to follow instructions. His teacher tries her best but she’s got thirty kids to attend to every day.

And so a few months ago I began the search. Sitting down at franchises, meeting with independent tutors, talking with teachers who did tutoring on the side and now we’ve finally found home. Last week and the week before we visited. We observed. Tonight Monkey tested the full spectrum.

Strangely enough, I did so well in school and sadly I expected that he’d grow out of some of the issues or he’d find his balance with his fidgets and quirks. Testing him was out of the question for his Bio once he began talking to everyone but me about the possibility of ADD being a reality. I’ve known it in my heart since Kinder. I’ve seen it on his face and in his actions. My Monkey.

Amazing just how he is and brilliant with his stories and elaborate games with rules no one but him can remember. Normalcy in our education system isn’t designed for kids like me and mine. We fight for ourselves and push against walls to make it through every single day. And now because our education system isn’t built for boys and girls like Monkey, the Boyfriend and I and my parents are pulling together to make things happen.

I’m happy with the home we’ve found for his studies. The women who run the center he’ll be receiving one-on-one tutoring from have been doing it as long as I’ve been alive.

I have faith that this will help. I’m not sure how much faith I have in our schools.


Adventures in Catalina Island…

I’m working on getting back to blogging. No really, I mean it this time. I’m even tweeting again sometimes.

A couple week ago the family went to Catalina Island with literally everyone…Ma, Paw, Future Husband and Monkey.
Here’s the highlight reel…

We arrived hungry and looking for fishy goodness on the pier…

Our familia enjoyed breakfast and wine hour by the waterside and made friends with the locals…

There was a bus tour, and our tour guide was thoughtful enough to point out all the idiot drivers on the road…

My favorite view on the whole island..

Oh they haven’t seen the last of us…

Monkey Rocks First Day of School!

First week of school in the books and Monkey has survived.

 The Monkey Rocks School

I remember my first days of school. Always full of anticipation and eagerness. I was a school junky. Loved it. Craved it. Waited for it. Summer was pretty damn awesome but school was my chance to be fabulous in my always color coordinated 80’s outfits and of course the stunning side pony tail. Rockstar!

Two weeks before school started for the Monkey, we started talking about it. He was tragically not looking forward to ending Summer and heading back to school. We are wicked fortunate that we are walking distance to one of the best schools in our ‘burb. While I’ve had a heck of a time acclimating to being the one of the several single Mamas eyed by the paired off Mommies, I love the programs and the message. Last year was horrifying. Monkey was bullied and treated awfully by a little boy. The kids in his class branded him as one of the “Bad Kids” and he cried on a handful of days over it. My heart broke. The teacher didn’t seem to realize the gravity of the situation, and she seemed to have formed a tight bond with the Bio. All the combined and well, school ending was a welcome sight to all of us.

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Monkey Weight.

I never struggled with body image issues as a little girl. It wasn’t until I was a woman that those ugly things started popping up in my head. Yesterday, my son experienced a tiny meltdown about his weight thanks to his Bio. He’s seven years old.

A typical trip to the Pediatrician led to a Bio-induced conversation about the Monkey’s weight. Where was he? Is he too heavy? Should he diet? I sat there in shock watching the look on Monkey’s face drop from elation to sheer sadness. I listened as the Bio and the Pediatrician discussed this very sensitive matter in front of a very sensitive little boy with a giant heart. Pushing tears back, I very plainly said to my Monkey, “Don’t worry honey, you’re fine just the way you are”.

Is that just Mama sticking her head in the sand? No, it really is not. Monkey is ridiculously active. He swims daily. Runs with me when we can. Rides his bike all over the place. Plays street hockey with me and the Boyfriend. We eat like crazy healthy people, only making exceptions once-in-awhile for food adventures. My entire goal with food and exercise was to avoid the issues his Bio has with his own body and food. He’s never been happy with who he is physically, and I’ve known him for over twenty years now. My greatest fear as a co-parent with this man-child was that he would eventually put the same stressors on Monkey, and sadly it has begun.

After the doctor, my Mom and I took Monkey to lunch. He was wary of eating anything at Fuddruckers, a wicked family favorite whenever we travel to my hometown. He had announced he wanted a cheeseburger with apples and then back-peddled to a chicken sandwich and then after I looked him in the eyes and told him this was a food adventure restaurant, he settled on food items that made him happy. Ear-to-ear grin. I love that kid. Serious.

On the drive home, he asked questions. The sound of the words resonated in my heart and head.

“Why doesn’t my Dad like how I look?”

“How come he says such not nice things about me?”

In the short drive home from my parents house it was clear to me that I had so much more work to do. Battling the Mean Boys at school and now having to defend my Monkey against the man who helped bring him into this world. The Boyfriend and I work daily to ensure that Monkey has a positive sense of self, mixed in with a good dose of humility and integrity. And as we chatted about his feelings, I had flashback to being 105lbs. because I feared him seeing me as imperfect. I ran 6 miles a day, smoked two packs a day and drank more coffee than anyone should consume – all while barely consuming a ounce of food. Tears streamed down my face as we talked about being confident in yourself no matter what anyone else says, and that it’s okay to tell his Bio how this attitude makes him feel. I punish myself by thinking of how I did this to my own flesh and blood. I sentenced this poor little Monkey to a life with a man who finds nothing satisfying. While I know there are those who will disagree with me and maybe I’m wrong, but it’s really hard to swallow today.

My Monkey is not overweight. He is not obese. He is not unhealthy. I will do everything I can to make sure he knows that he is amazing and loved.

My heart is breaking today. Hug your kiddos.



A Slice of Sugarloaf

This morning I woke up in the woods. I made a fire and saw this out my window…


Yesterday, The Boyfriend and The Monkey and me, jumped in the PT Crapper called Betty and ventured over the mountains and through the woods to Big Bear. Thanks to the fabulous So Cal Lady Bloggers, I connected with the owner of this fabulous retreat Prince Pines. This place is stunning and fabulously appointed. Upon walking into the cabin I was transported back in time to when I was a kid with it’s lovely wood flooring, stone stacked fireplace and full kitchen this place took me back. Love it here!
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