Monthly Archives: February 2013

good days and bad days

The last several mornings I have been woken, before the alarm, by a bright-eyed five year old crawling into my bed.  I suspect most of you, those who aren’t parents of young children, may have reacted to that with “awwww” but let me tell you, that’s not the mood I’m trying to inspire.  Leave out the bright eyed five year old part and just imagine being awoken before the alarm by a gangly, loud breathing creature climbing into your bed and digging his knees into your ribs–there–that’s the feeling I’m going for.

This morning, my meditation was interrupted by being rear ended (I was sitting in my parked car, meditating… and it was just a bump, not to worry, but it felt a lot bigger from the silent place I had dropped into).

I wore scratchy wool tweed pants today that are only lined to the knee.

These could be the makings of a “bad day” right?  But they weren’t…  I didn’t have a bad day.  I just had a day and I’m pretty thrilled to be reflecting on that realization.  This wave of positivity could be fueled by having written the first chapter of my memoir (7000 words) in the last three days (woot!), or it could also be because I am awesome… or it could be a kind of chicken/egg scenario where one happened because I am awesome or I am awesome because one happened and both are contributing to my lightened mood.  It’s not that important… moving on.

I’ve written about this many, many times before, but it never seems to get old.  I keep learning that I get to choose how I will experience the world.

I get to choose how I feel.

hand holding flowerI used to think that only applied to those days that didn’t include inexplicable lows or other symptoms of chemical depression… but it applies to those too!  I used to think it only worked on the days when I could translate my experiences into delight, wonder, and authentic gratitude…  but it’s not just for those either!

It works for regular, old every days.

I chose how I felt when my compassion for the worried driver outshone the startle from my silence.

I chose how I felt when I recalled that getting woken up before the alarm beats rousing a crabby kid out of bed.

I chose how I felt when I made use of my scratchy pants to itch the bug bite on my arm all day long.

And to prevent leaving you in the lurch with this profundity… let me tell you how I “choose.”  It’s by going with, instead of against.  When you get bumped, and move forward you aren’t getting bumped anymore.  When you are being scratched and rub an itch into it you are getting a need met.  When you are greeted with an intention of love and give love back you are exchanging the ultimate commodity.  Choosing how I feel means choosing to go with… choosing not to resist.

I’m not soaring… I’m not full of joy or gratitude or light or airiness.  I’m a little tired.  I got irritated a couple times at work.  My mouth tastes like carrots after 5 days of clean eating (and I’m a little weary of that prolonged state of mouth stank…) but I’m fine.  I had a day.  A fine day.  Meh-who am I kidding… it was a good day!  and it didn’t have to be.  It got that way because I chose it.

being “responsible”

My beloved told me (shortly after we met) that a psychic she saw (shortly before we met) predicted that she would meet her soul mate in the form of me (my description per the psychic: younger than her, has a child, VERY responsible).

Ta-daa!  Here I am!  It’s all true.  My soul was made to love hers, and it does.  I am younger, but not so much that it’s creepy.  I have a child, yes I do.  And I am responsible… very responsible.  And being responsible has its perks.  Besides being a beacon to my love to help her know when she had found me it also keeps me and my son clothed, housed, and fed.  It gets me jobs.  It lets me travel through life feeling like I’m contributing.  I have even learned how to balance it with impulsivity so I can still take risks and reap the rewards

…but it has its downsides too.

I tend to take responsibility for things that aren’t mine… (read: other people’s feelings.  I think they call that co-dependency, but I think I invented it and cured myself and now live in recovery from it so I’m not going there) and taking responsibility for so much often puts me in an impossible position.  The other night, when tucking my kiddo into bed, he pointed at a picture of himself, his father, and me tacked up on the wall and said “I wish it was like that.  You and me and Poppa together.”

Ouch.

Ouch not because I’m perceiving it as any kind of attack, but ouch because I want my child to have what he wants.  It’s hard enough to say no to chocolate and carrying his backback all the time because I want him to learn healthy habits and be self-responsible…  it’s a constant struggle over even the littlest of things.  I lean towards enabler-he leans toward opportunist… we are a dangerous combination and I am hell bent on getting us both out of this healthy.  If it’s so hard with chocolate, imagine how much it hurts not to be able to give him the life that he wants (and society tells me he “deserves”).

I ended up in this version of my life because at a certain point I decided I was going to choose to be myself and it was the best choice I ever made.  I have never been happier.  Never felt more fulfilled.  Never experienced so much joy and love.  Leading up to that point I got married.  Had a baby.  Left my husband because I wanted to.  Got back together with my husband because I wanted to.  Told my husband he could leave our marriage to be with the woman he was pursuing because that seemed like what he wanted to do.  All of those choices were attempts to experience happiness, fulfillment, joy, and love but didn’t result in them quite as profoundly as the choice to be myself did.

So when I hear “I want it to be like that” and “that” is a way that #1, it cannot be, and #2 I wouldn’t want it to be even if it could… I take responsibility.  Somehow this is all my fault.  Even though my husband chose to emotionally exit the marriage when it ended the last time, I believe it must have been my leaving the first time that drove him to do it.  If I can swallow the guilt of believing I’m selfish for knowing that’s the best thing that ever happened to me then I go to the marriage and choice to have a child in the first place.  I hear it takes two to tango, but I don’t dance.  It doesn’t matter that he asked me to marry him or that we started trying to have a child because he said he was ready and wanted to…  he told me he did those things for me, and I believed him; I take full responsibility.

Responsibility likes to take long walks on the beach with guilt and while long walks on the beach are nice, guilt is a lousy companion.  I learned somewhere along the road that I needed to be responsible for everything and everyone because I (thought I) was the only who would or could be…  then I designed my life to reinforce that belief by surrounding myself with people who and putting myself in situations which I was responsible for.

list that reads "baking soda"

someone who loves my adds things to my grocery list… it’s the best thing ever

Now, I get to be lucky enough to let go of that belief by sharing the load.  With a partner, with friends, with teammates, with Life as a whole…

Remember that scene in Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams is repeating to Matt Damon “it’s not your fault.  it’s not your fault” until he breaks down in tears because he starts to realize he had thought it was his fault all along and he might have been wrong.

That’s where I am… next step: upswing.

 

post-meltdown state of mind

I’m surprised by a lot lately.  It could be because I am not paying very close attention, but I am going to decide this is because I have been successfully living free of expectation…  go me!

In the aftermath of Monday’s meltdown I am surprised by how quickly it came up and also, now, by how quickly it’s faded away.  When looking at it from this direction, though, I can see why it wasn’t that surprising at all.  I knew I hadn’t been taking the greatest care of myself for a few weeks.  I kept saying it, and then going to bed… because sleep is an important part of self care.  Unfortunately it is also a terrifically effective self care avoidance tactic.

Other important self care practices that cannot be accomplished while sleeping are:

  • eating food that nourishes my body
  • incorporating intentional movement into my day
  • formal mindfulness
  • just for pleasure time: reading, the respite of television, baths, snuggling, naked time alone, naked time with beloved
  • not cramming every free minute of every day with something to “do” and ignoring the nagging feeling behind your shoulder blade that says “get out of that desk chair and put me into the bath with a book!  please!  i’m begging you!”

It’s pretty easy to see (again, from this perspective) how I got myself into the state of meltdown I experienced earlier this week.  It also ended being, in retrospect–because it sure as hell didn’t feel that way at the time!–pretty easy to get myself out of it (thanks to the magical cocktail of asking for the support I needed and then getting it from a very generous partner).  What I hope will also be easy (and not just in retrospect, it would be great if it could just feel easy right now… please) is recommitting to my self care.

I have a bunch of stuff to do tonight.  I have a piece to write for class tomorrow.  I need to workshop the other students’ work (also for class tomorrow).  I have reading to do for class tomorrow (ugh… this “class tomorrow” thing is becoming a very present weight).

paper with typed information on it

super mom to the rescue!

I just finished preparing a four page packet for the Student Support Team meeting at my kiddo’s school tomorrow morning and I need to make my notes.  I have laundry to fold…

…but it all has to wait.  Because that shoulder blade twinge is calling me to the bath and/or a new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.  Save me from a future meltdown RuPaul… Save me!

 

motherhood & meltdowns

My son was sick last week, the whole week.  6 days of constant fever and headache and lying on the couch and even asking to take naps.  And then another couple days of recovery where his boredom wasn’t matched with his energy levels leaving him in a state of neediness where he wanted to be both running in circles around the apartment and in my lap at the same time; being 5 (and a half) is hard.  No matter how peaceful it was to be home with him for that week (because he really is the EASIEST sick kid ever) it also, as you heard last week, raised my baseline worry to a higher level than it’s been for some time.

By the time Thursday came around my monthly blessing was in full force (meaning that sudden drop in hormones that happens a week or so before menstruation is about to begin that sweeps away the layers of dust and reveals any little cracks or thin spots that aren’t as noticeable on any other day which feels like hell but actually is a gift if perceived that way) and I was starting to become a blubbering mess.  I got through writing class without any trauma (notice I said without trauma, not without tears… just without trauma.)  I had a great session in therapy on Friday where I got to muck through some cognitive distortions that almost prevented me from having the support I wanted and needed for the reading I was participating in the next day.  I talked to some friends.  I asked for what I needed and I got it.

mestandingupinfrontofpeopleBy the time Saturday came I thought I was okay.  When I stood up to read one of my stories in front of people at the Fucking Geniuses reading I recall noticing and being somewhat alarmed by the trembling inside my body.  I stand up and talk in front of people for a living, and have been doing so for years and years.  I don’t get nervous about that anymore, and this level of nervousness was more intense than anything I had ever experience before.

I wasn’t getting any funny looks so I kept going, absorbed the laughter at the funny parts and the applause at the end and felt good about it all together.  At the very least, I knew I was happy it was over.  The whole event was really a success.  Each of the readings went well, the environment was welcoming and intimate, the guests were engaged and responsive.  It was a successful outcome and I went in without expectation (double success!)

The next day I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck.  Every part of my body ached.  My beloved and I dropped the kiddo off at my mom’s and enjoyed a peaceful day together.  We had brunch.  We read and sat on the beach.  We attempted to get foot massages.  We baked and ate brownies (and leftover Thai) for dinner.  We watched movies.  It was the perfect recovery day and I expected to feel rejuvenated, but I didn’t.

Note to self.  When a day of relaxation leaves you feeling exhausted, a meltdown may be on the horizon…

When my beloved was packing up to go home the next day I was having a hard time holding back the tears.  She started to say it seemed like I needed her to stay but I brushed it off.  I was tired.  Maybe I was catching the flu.  I just needed another slow, easy, peaceful day.  I would watch movies with the kiddo or we could go to the park… easy breezy.  A little over an hour after she left and an hour into near-constant crying I called her and ended up asking her to come back.

I can’t recall the last time I felt this way…  and what I think is most unique about this meltdown is that it wasn’t triggered by an event of proportional significance.  Every time I can recall feeling this way there’s been a reason, or at least I’ve had something to blame.  I didn’t get dumped.  I didn’t bomb at the reading.  I didn’t get in a fight with my former-husband.  I didn’t lose my job. Nothing bad happened… In fact, several great things happened…  and those great things just happened to be matched up with my little cracks and thin spots just at the right time to knock into each other and set loose all my internal critics at once.

I sunk deeply into my own despair.  The sobbing felt endless.  I was convinced that I was going to feel this way forever (the very moment it started too…  One minute I was moving through life as usual and then I was paralyzed by physical and emotional pain I just knew would last for the rest of my life).  Everything hurt.  I was afraid everything I had was lost and everything I wanted was out of reach.

And this time, again differently from others, I could see myself and see what was happening (which is, I would say, the primary benefit of this chosen level of consciousness and self-responsibility) but that wasn’t enough… I could see, but just barely.  I was so far away from myself I was way out of reach and even out of earshot…  There was no way to get me a message.

…and I needed to be a mom.  And not in that way that I am a mom every moment of my life, but literally.  I was home alone with the kiddo and he needed affection, attention, and care.  I would let myself cry for a few minutes and when I could stop long enough to catch my breath I would try engaging  only to find myself needing to retreat again a moment later.  Even without actually seeing tears fall out of my eyes he knew I had been crying.  He wanted to know why and I gave him simple, honest answers.

I was sad.
Why?
I don’t know.

And I didn’t.  I knew it wasn’t about him and I told him so.  I couldn’t tell if he believed me.  I couldn’t tell what was real.

If the primary benefit of this consciousness thing is that I can see myself more often than not, the primary downside is that I can see myself and my impact more often than not…  I am aware of the moments in my life where I formed limiting beliefs about myself and the way I interact with the world and I see myself putting my own child into situations where he might make up his mind in a similar way about those very same things.  It’s terrifying.

My beloved came back and her energy in the room held things together enough that we made it until bedtime and got the kiddo safely into bed feeling loved, secure, and well taken care of.

I was able to completely break down and dig deep into my sorrow and find the roots of it.  I dug and cried and dug and cried and dug and cried until, like she predicted would happen, I couldn’t dig or cry anymore.  I got frustrated that it was the same old stuff.  I criticized myself for not being further along.  I doubted that I deserved this loving support.  I also let her hold me and asked for the reassurance I needed and made a choice to believe the things she said.

All the while I struggled to understand what was real.  How could the joy I felt just days before be real if this darkness was so real right now?  They can’t both be true!

Even this morning, waking up and feeling a thousand times better having drained out so much angst through tears, writing, and shit…  I was frustrated.  There is no way to know what’s real, I thought.  I read a few inspirational pieces about this very topic and saw that the solution is the same as  it always is.  Change the focus.  Find the positive.  Reframe the picture.  Focus on the truth…

And there is was again… truth.  What the fuck is that?  The version of truth they wrote about is the pretty version.  Everything good about you is the truth, the darkness is a lie.  But in reality, all of it is true.  Every little possible thing I can think up is true.  Anything I believe is true.  That’s how it works.  And this is frustrating.  Until I realize that means I can choose.  Which is also momentarily frustrating, because that presents a lot of potential options.  But then I remember, because I’ve done it before, that if I choose the one that feels good, I’ll feel goodSo what’s true?  Whatever I choose… and today I choose the truth that I’m brilliant, brave, and beautiful.  This truth doesn’t make the truth that I’m hurt, scared, and small go away but it lets the brilliant, brave, and beautiful one take care of the hurt, scared, and small one.

Which is where it all comes full circle.

Because while the meltdowns threaten to disrupt the role of motherhood, the role of motherhood is really what teaches me how to help myself through the meltdowns.

love is all around…

this post has absolutely nothing to do with valentine’s day.  just want to make that clear.  i know tomorrow is valentine’s day and that’s important to folks, but this is just a delightful coincidence.  also to be clear, i am not “anti-valentine’s day” nor do i insist on calling it “single’s awareness day” i just happen to be one of those people who think that everyone being encouraged to express the same emotion on the same day takes some of the oomph out of it and the world would be a better place if we just told people we loved them (and wrote them notes, made them cards, brought them flowers, bought them little tokens of affection) every day.

one more thing before i move on, because this is starting to be about valentine’s day and i am very clear that can’t be the case…  my mom sends me a valentine’s day gift every year.  and that’s awesome.  she also sends me love notes on non-holidays (see, that’s the root of the awesome).

i had a crappy day today.  my son is feverish (going on day 3) and while that means he is terrifically quiet and manageable it raises my level of worry to at least a six.  an average day of worry for me would be about a two these days… six is a leap into the old familiar i am looking to leave behind.  i have a lot going on at work and am not sure when it will all get done.  i have a lot going on in my own work as well… and… well… same story.  there are only so many hours in a day.

so, i’m cranky.  nothing major.

and then i find this in my trader joe’s sesame honey cashews (oh my gosh, so good!  don’t bother with the almonds, they don’t compare!)
sesame cashew heart in hand

and later walking to the garage I see this…

cardboard heart on garage floor

and hours after that my beloved sends me this…

sugar snap pea heart on board

 

and i remember that I once found this at a beach camp…

rock heart photo montage

 

and this on a walk…

leaf heart

and this beside a lake (and then it broke and I glued it back together…)

shale heart and hot glue gun

 

and the other day I found a piece of heart shaped eggshell on a child’s plate (I didn’t take a picture…)

Love is all around.  It’s not just easy to find.  It finds you.  When you’re ready to see it.

Happy Valentine’s Day (dammit!  no!  okay, well I guess this did end up being about Valentine’s day)

 

 

what’s underneath anger

Historically, I haven’t done anger.  And I don’t mean that I haven’t done it well, I mean I hadn’t done it at all.  It’s not my favorite emotion.  It’s not one that I’m comfortable expressing.  It’s not even one that I’m comfortable having.  It’s taken quite a bit of my adult life to develop a healthy relationship with it and, just like most things, as soon as I think I’ve got it I realize that I still have a long way to go.

Anger came up as a big theme for me a few years ago.  I had just gotten back together with my husband after a period of separation, initiated by me, and when I went to the doctor for a battery of STD screenings to make sure it was safe to get busy without protection I was surprised with a positive test for Hepatitis C (which is rarely transmitted sexually, by the way, so no one really knows why they tested for it at all, except for maybe the folks up in the sky orchestrating the universe and my life lessons).  They retested me in case it was a false positive (it wasn’t) and sent me to a specialist who was booked for months.  In the interim I ran to my trusty chiropractor/naturopath’s office to get cured the legitimate way. *wink*  She suggested she go see someone I had seen before: a bioreprogramming therapist who specializes in how our brains’ programs effect our physical health.  To the bioreprogrammer I went and there I learned that our liver is associated with anger…

Ew.  I thought.  That’s not me.  I don’t get angry.  What could anger possibly have to do with what’s going on in my body?  I never get angry!  Never!  NEVER!

Turns out.  Everyone gets angry… even me.  And when those of us who don’t know how to feel or express it keep it buried inside it takes up residence in our liver.

In this case my brand of anger was “rancor”: malicious resentfulness or hostility; spite.  And as soon as she defined it that way I knew what it was and where it came from.  I had no absence of rancor towards my husband or his family.  I didn’t want to die, or turn yellow… so I allowed myself to feel anger… rancor.  The bioreprogrammer helped me process through it and predicted that if I was retested for Hepatitis C in 6 months that the tests would be completely negative.  No trace of anything ever having been abnormal.

To prepare for my meeting with the liver specialist I had to get a new set of tests done.  When I was sitting in his office a few months later for our first appointment I learned that my test results were 100% normal and as far as he could tell there was no reason for me to be there.  There hasn’t been a recurrence since.

For the past several years I have been walking around believing that I had this anger thing down.  I get angry all the time.  Sometimes I even yell at people (from the safe confines of my car or my head)!

Yeah… that’s not really mastering anger.

Anger has started coming up again lately… I went back to the trusty naturopath for a checkup and found out that I had a liver toxicity that needed clearing up (liver!  ding ding!  anger!  ding ding! go the alarms in my head).  Then last week in writing class another student said about my piece “you sounded very angry.”  Which I didn’t agree with or appreciate hearing so I got pretty pissed about that too.  It didn’t help that I was already pissed at her saying that the persona in one of my other pieces (who is also me, I pretty much only write about me) was selfish, manipulative and had no self control.  Grrrrr…

In therapy last week I figured I’d get my money’s worth so I plopped down in the chair and started talking about my relationship with anger.  In a moment’s time I had learned that:

notes from therapy.

  1. I get angry when I think I look stupid
  2. I find “looking stupid” (or unreliable, loud, bossy, annoying, selfish, manipulative, not possessing of self control, etc) to be the worst possible scenario on the planet
  3. I also get angry when people fuck with my kid (apparently this is natural and healthy–yay!)
In describing my relationship to these states of being and why I was so opposed to appearing “selfish or manipulative” or not having any “self control” I found myself saying (and this is a direct quote because my therapist had me write it down and I’m transcribing it off the paper right now):
I don’t want to ever give anyone a reason to know me for anything but my brilliant selflessness

And as much as I know how unhealthy that sounds… I also love the way it sounds.  It represents a huge part of me.  It represents this persona I carry inside, who learned to take the reigns many, many years ago and has perfected the craft of managing my life so that most people only do know me for that (or at least she is tricked into believing they do.  turns out they also see my yucky stuff and they still love me anyway)!  
I got the spend the rest of my therapy session honoring her for her contributions and then collaborating with her about how we are going to deal with the inevitable beasts of anger, impulsiveness, selfishness, and manipulation.  It’s good to have an inner producer.  Especially a really good one.  *smirk*

bad at being happy

I have been in a state of perpetual crisis since I was about 9 years old.  Some of the crises were things we would all agree are crisis-like (untimely death of a parent, for example), others were specific to an adolescent (and then prolonged emotional adolescence) point of view.  Some came to, at, and through me without an invitation and others I completely brought upon myself.

The result: I get bored easily.  When there’s nothing wrong I don’t know what to do with myself.  I am uncomfortable with feeling comfortable.  I don’t know how to do it.

My 2013 vision board.
Basically just says “keep being awesome.
keep letting awesome happen to you.”

Just this past weekend I was sitting in my beloved’s lap on the floor and sobbing.  Nothing had happened.  Nothing was looming on the horizon.  I was simply full to bursting with emotion because there’s nothing wrong with my life and I don’t know how to cope with that.

I tried to fill the open space by listing all of the things that are wrong with me:

  • I wait too long at 4-way stops, it confuses people, and then I get mad at them for being confused
  • I don’t clean, but I want things to appear neat 
  • I hog the bed
  • I have stinky feet
  • I eat things that have been dropped on the floor
  • I have a stretch mark at the bottom of my droopy, post-pregnancy belly that is at least an inch in width (width!)
  • There was more… it’s not that important…
I even tried confessing to one of my greatest sins against humanity:
  • once when I was baking something I needed baking soda and didn’t have any in the cabinet so I took a teaspoon from the box in the fridge instead (you know, the one that sits in there absorbing odors for a while).

Don’t worry current loved ones, it was years ago…  I have higher standards now.

As the words came out of my mouth I struggled to hold back giggles; sometimes I couldn’t manage to.  She waited until I was finished (I probably went on for 20 minutes about how “awful” I am) and presented me with a “guess what?  I still love you.”  And I knew it was true, which was awesome.  Even awesomer is that I didn’t love myself any less for any of these things either.  They all sounded pretty ridiculous.

I don’t know how to just be happy and content.  I only know how to struggle and cope.  I know how to keep my head down and plow through.  I don’t know how to take it all in when there doesn’t seem to be much of anything going on to take in.  I don’t have much experience letting it be.  I’ve built a reputation on fixing and planning and coordinating life into a perfect outcome.

For 21 years I’ve been toiling away and hoping to get to someplace or some time when I would have what I wanted to be happy…  Well, I made it.  Now what?

In the past I would have made up something to be upset about.  I still see myself doing this, but when I see it as it happens it takes the wind out of its sails.  I hear a lot of folks self-sabotage at this stage.  I don’t think I do that.  I think I just whine.  A lot.  And when I’m tired of whining I work from home so I can eat lunch three different times or I obsess about things like whether I should sell my iPad 2 on eBay and buy myself an iPad mini instead (I definitely should…)

Last night I had a dream that I was making a list of all of the things that were right about my life.  It lasted all 7 hours.

I’m starting to feel guilty about complaining about this.  Now that’s a feeling I know what to do with!

positive feedback

As you heard, I marched myself into the principal’s office last week when I finally decided that conflict avoidance wasn’t worth the lifelong impact having a shitty relationship with his teachers was going to have on my kid and asked for what I wanted/needed.  I had a lot to say.  Things along the lines of:

  • I’m getting the message that the school/teachers are giving up on him
  • I’m also hearing that you’re unwilling/unable to support him (especially because/even though his support needs don’t qualify him for any kind of special support)
Kind of big stuff, no?
I also mentioned at one point that I never hear anything positive about him.  That seems to have been the biggest take away.  Last week I ran into both of the teachers on separate occasions when we were stopping by school at the end of the day to patronize the book fair.  Both of the teachers had clearly been “talked to” and I found their reactions to this “talking to” to be very focused on the “never hear anything positive feedback.”  The first said, while shrugging his shoulders “he mostly does good in my class” and then made awkward small talk for a few moments until he had to run off to a conference.  The second flagged me down from across the playground and apologized for the note that suggested parenting techniques.  He said, “that wasn’t meant for you.  You can use those ideas if you want, but they aren’t meant for you.”  Funny, because you drew an arrow on the front of the page you sent home to me indicating that I should turn the page over and read what was on the other side… (I kept this profound statement to myself).  He them proceeded to very loudly and very enthusiastically tell my son how great of a job he had done.  That day, that week, always!  SUCH A GOOD JOB!
I noticed the notes and homework assignments are coming with lots of smiley faces and exclamation points on them and I am very aware that I have not effectively communicated my point.  I’m not getting anything that says “we are committed to supporting your child.”  I’m getting a lot of reactionary “I got in trouble by my boss because of something you said so I’m going to try and prevent you from talking to her about me again by being excessively nice to you.”
Not exactly what I was looking for.
First, a clarification.  “Never” was an exaggeration.  They have said positive things about him, they are just on a 1:10 ratio of positive to negative.
Second, an explanation… When I express that I want to hear positive things about my child, I don’t mean that I want to hear how happy you were when he behaved the way you wanted.  I want to hear positive things about HIM, not about how he acts.  I don’t place much emphasis or importance on how compliant he was for the day.  To me, his level of cooperation is a direct reflection of his emotional state.  He has unmet needs, and until they’re met they are the only thing he can focus on.  I get that this isn’t a particularly functional way to live, but he’s not an incomplete 30 year old, he’s a complete 5 year old… and this is what he’s working on.
original artwork by the child in question.
it’s me, and a christmas tree, and it’s raining presents.
good times. 🙂
Here’s my message to all the teachers out there (and thanks to those who already do this).  Please do not measure my child’s worth by his performance in your class; on the test or in his willingness or ability to sit still.  Please do not shower us with happy faces when he made you life easy and send home red X’s on the days he doesn’t.  When we have a conference to talk about his progress, let’s look at where he’s progressed and talk about the areas where there are opportunities for development by collaborating on how we can help him develop new strength.  If you must tell me about something he does or doesn’t do, tell me a story about the time he stood up for, helped out, or was generous with another child.  When I come into your classroom I see these stories happening every moment as the children interact.  Talk to me about the things that get him excited and the areas where he appears to be bored or disinterested and then tell me how we’re going to infuse the boring, less interesting stuff with the stuff that excites him.  Show me that you see him, know him, and understand him.  Show me that he’s more to you than a red, yellow, or green card, a pile of worksheets, and a score on a standardized test.
Or, tell me that you won’t.  But not that you can’t.  Because you could.  You may not have known that it was an expectation or even an option.  Now you do, and at this point if you still don’t, it’s because you’re choosing not to.