Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Its Not Always Easy At The Top!

So, like I told you in my last post, my school year job as a 1:1 assistant for Tizzy came to an end a few weeks ago. Only a few days later, my summer job, helping to run a summer daycamp for children with special needs, began! I had the same job last year but this year I have two co-leaders instead of just one. It makes it a little easier, especially since the two new co-leaders seem to be a lot more comfortable with kids with special needs than last year's co-leader was.

Even before the school year ended I was busy trying to plan activities for camp! Kevin (one of the co-leaders) has a busy social/activism life, and Chelsea (the other co-leaders) has her hands full with a husband and two children, and I tend to enjoy the planning aspects of camp so I sort of took over a lot of it. What has ended up happening to me is that I get up early enough to get to camp by 8:00 (the earliest we are allowed to be at the site, by contract) to start getting ready for the day as much as I can before everyone else gets there at 8:45 or so. And then after camp ends ar 3:00 or 3:30, I end up going to at least one or two stores to get supplies for the upcoming days. Then I go home, rest for about an hour, eat dinner with my aunt and uncle, take care of all my animal-related duties (clean litter box, feed fish, let Lily out, etc) and then go to my room to work on camp preparations until 10:00. Then I go to sleep. It ends up to be at least 12 hours of work a day!

I don't mean to complain. I really enjoy the camp, and I have fun planning cool things for the kids to do. If there is anything I don't like so much about the job, it is some of the aspects of "supervising" 20 or so adults. Most of the people there are really great, and I look forward to seeing them each day. A few of them, though, probably just one or two, have personalities that seem to involve trying to be as loud and as powerful as possible. These are the people who will argue or complain about little things, the people who insist on punishing the campers for being "disobedient" by keeping them in from activities or threatening to take away field trips (which, the other co-leaders and I have explained from the beginning, we cannot do, unless it is a matter of safety. The kids are there for camp, not behavioral therapy, and their parents have paid for them to be there so they can experience summer camp to the fullest extent that they are able, not to have their favorite activities taken away from them because they didn't put their bathing suit away the first time they were told. We urge the staff members to use natural consequences and "love and logic" strategies, instead. But some people seem hell-bent on getting into control battles!) On one hand I really don't like confrontation, and I consider myself a pretty patient person. But on the other hand, I can be almost overly-sensitive when I feel like the kids are being treasted unfairly. Of course, as usual, I digress...

Anyways. My brother (Bro) and I had been talking about getting together for a long weekend. He lives in California, and he and my nephew Squeak are two of the main reasons I moved out here from Chicago, but I didn't quite realize that being an eight hour drive away from them would not be much better than being a 6 hour plane ride away like I was in Chicago! I originally wanted to move to their town, but Bro was all, "I have my own thing going here, find your own town," only now he and Squeak's mom Sunny have broken up and Bro is a single dad for most of the week and as soon as that happened he changed his tune to, "Move down here and help take care of Squeak!" but by then I had already adjusted pretty well to living up here and had gotten a job and everything, so... Oops I digress, again.

We decided it would be fun to meet half way between our two towns, in a college town four hours south of me and four hours north of him. We got a room at a hotel with a pool so Squeak could swim every day. I got there at noon on Saturday and stayed until noon on Tuesday, missing a day of work. It was so much fun! When I look back on those few days, it feels like a dream, and in my memory everything is hazy and blue and sweet. We spent a lot of the time swimming with Squeak in the pool. He had his little arm swimmies on and was in seventh Heaven. We went to a huge park in the town where there was a little creek that you could splash around in, and a playground. We went out to eat a bunch of times, and we went to see the movie Finding Dory. On the night of Independence Day qwe went to this little festival where they had jumpy houses for the kids, and Squeak spent hours jumping around while we watched, and then we went and watched the fireworks together. Squeak just turned three, and he's a really awesome little kid. He's adorable, and really well-behaved. He's barely ever crabby or whiny, except when he's really tired. The three of us were just together constantly, just relaxing and hanging out. I loved every minute of it. One surprising thing for me was that, although I was getting the same amount of sleep as usual and also about the same amount of activity, I was not tired at all. Usually during the day I feel like I could pass out at any moment. But this whole weekend I felt like I was floating calmly on a cloud of happiness!

We had to part ways on Tuesday at noon. I cried my eyes out for much of the drive home. I didn't even want to get a snack, or listen to music in my car, because nothing would taste as good as the meals and snacks I ate with Bro and Squeak, and no music would be as good as hearing Squeak's little voice. That probably sounds corny and stupid. But that was the way I felt.

The other bad thing about my summer job is that it started right after school ended, and it ends right before my training for my new teaching job starts. So I won't get to go back to Chicago this summer. I really was looking forward to it. I was counting the days. I miss my grandparents and my parents and my aunt and little cousins and my mom's dog so much! I might get to see my mom for a few days if she comes out here, but there will only be a really narrow window of time for me to get to see her. That breaks my heart into a million pieces. I hate being away from her. And I probably won't even get to see my dad or the rest of them at all until Thanksgiving.

I don't know why I am in a sad mood today! I had a good weekend. I will tell you about it later. Right now I need to get ready for bed. But my main point oif this post is that I need to find a way to do more of my planning stuff while I am actually AT work, instead of doing it at home and using up my "free" time. Part of the problem is that when I am using the computer at work to do planning stuff or when I am working on making things for activities, the same few people will make random comments indicating that I am slacking off because I am not knee-deep in little kids. But its like, "Okay, dudes, but if I don't do this, then at activity time tomorrow we're just going to be coloring with crayons or something for the whole time because I won't have anything ready, but that's okay, right?"

Okay I need to get some sleep obviously. Here is a lovely picture of me and Squeak in the little creek at the park we visited. He was showing me a rock he found.

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