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Tag Archives: Aspergers

Learning to Be Content – 1 Grunt at a Time (Mine, Not My Kid’s)

 

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In my quest to adjust to life as a working mom, there’s a lot I haven’t done, including writing here.

Because I am lazier than the gajillion people who refused to get out and vote this election season hate to reinvent the wheel, I thought I’d share something I sent to a friend today. She was on my  mind because, being a good self-indulgent product of the eighties, I’m on my mind a lot. And since I somehow live more peacefully in my Starbuck’s infested/doing too much/oh crap/I forgot to apply to high schools for my kid and now he’s going to be stuck at our local feeder school brain when I think of others, I thought I’d share it with you in case you can relate. (A few words added and deleted for privacy.)

Hi friend – 

Just writing you a quick letter to let you know something my own sponsor said to me today. I call her every morning at 730. If it’s 731 she gets on my case. “You’re late.” It’s annoying and a bit non-graceful. She’s of a different faith than me, a lawyer and pretty much the opposite of overthinking/soft hearted/no boundaries me. But she’s been amazing. She’s like those rubber walls in a pinball machine for me. My emotions get wound back and released high into the game. The ball then falls against those walls and plink! plink! plinks! all over the place. It wants to go straight to the top (that’s where I think the good life is) but it hits those walls. Those walls scream at me, “No. You’re staying right here. Get still. Stop running.” So I do. 
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Today I told her, all in fifteen minutes, how I had all these fears. Fears that I would never land on that TV show or hit the big time to have money to send my kids to private schools and have all these CRAZY FUN experiences if I keep doing what I’m doing as a special needs aide. I need time at night to write again and figure out a way to finish that pilot that’s going to make me that money. (And my book. Whatever happened to that?)
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But then I told her (and this is the truth) that I have never been happier at a job then I am right now. I make a small bit/hour and barely have cash after I buy food for the family and pay some bills, to do anything. And yet, I have people in a community that adore me. That I love right back. That bring me hard boiled eggs from their chicken coop and walk coffee to me on a break. People that have Thanksgiving and Halloween feasts…
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…that have burrito bars for our Hispanic community… arts and crafts and Willy Wonka productions and ridiculous school dances where I get to walk around with eighth graders trailing behind me like baby ducks while Gen Ed kids scream out at me, “Mrs. Frizzle! Mrs. Frizzle! Nice Marilyn Monroe skirt!” (Intentionally refusing to call me Mrs. Frazer based on my… ahem… style of dress.)
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I push wheel chairs and wipe drool and dance with Down Syndrome kids. I am plugged in to love on a daily basis. 
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With that,my life saving sponsor reminded me to remember where I am today. To “Make space between the notes” to be present. She reminded me that sometimes what we think we want is not worth it if where we are we cannot be content.
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As I write this I am still so unsure of my path. Without sounding like a narcissist, writing is where I find so much joy. My blog and my book are my soul. I refuse to lose it. But I’m also thinking that maybe TV isn’t for me. The pushing and shoving for money to validate my ego somehow doesn’t feel as rich as the team work and caring that validates others. I want to live up to my true potential, but what if what “I” thought was supposed to be is not what “God” intended. Is this spiritual enlightenment or just crack talk for the words ‘LOSER at a bigger life.’
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 I’m not sure. But I do know this: There is a peace in doing what I am doing RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Whether that’s painting a snowman with Ethan, my Asperger buddy who can barely read let alone hold a brush, or cooking dinner or having a beautiful Advent for my kids. There is joy in being of service right where I’m at and not flogging myself for being bigger in the world or my bank account. 
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In thinking of my purpose, I must always revisit God’s purpose. In all I do, I must remember the question, “What is my motive?”
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  To quote Paul, 
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“I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.
Hang in.
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Love, Andrea
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If any of you are reading and are not a God person, I still believe God has a purpose for you. If you’re of another faith – or perhaps Christian and think your life should have turned out better because you go to church and help the poor and only buy sheep from catalogs as Christmas gifts for people to sponsor underprivileged villages in South America and have foster kids named Jorge and Wanita Azul – let me remind you that the most Christian of them all hung out with the poor, the wackadoos and died a brutal death. We have to let that fantasy of “I deserve it” go. Life sometimes sucks. Period.
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Tonight, with four tween boys stinking up my house, a pot of rice in the cooker, lights twinkling on my staircase and a husband peacefully watching a show I’d rather die than view, I’m content that it doesn’t suck today.
I hope you are, too.
Here’s to more time here connecting. As always, I’ve missed you.

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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I’ll Take a Venti Life with 3 Pumps of Sweetness and a Side of Career. Oh, And I Have a Coupon

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So the award for the longest title goes to me.

Also the award for the biggest tantrum on the planet. It has been going on for two days two years. And now it’s ending. What I really needed to do two years ago was give myself a spanking to snap out of it, but I don’t believe in corporal punishment, so instead I whined and complained and basically made myself and many around me miserable.

And then last week I threw water at my argumentative teenager which was my wake up call to give myself a time out on my nuttiness. And here’s what I learned.

Right now I’m exactly where I need to be.

I’m not God so I can stop pretending to run the universe. He has a plan for my kids, my hubby, my job, my entitled sausage of a dog… all of us.

I’m working at Starbucks.

I can stop feeling bad about it. It’s not because I suck at writing or because I couldn’t get something better. It’s because it’s an honest living. I get to stretch that side of me that hates discipline, order and routine and become good at it. Why? Because how can I expect my kids to do the same if I haven’t learned that lesson?

In taking a little time to myself the other day (a long time coming, I might add) it really sank in that my current job situation is tough for a creative like me. But it’s not impossible. And it’s not necessarily a punishment or a burden. It’s quite the opposite.

Getting paid pennies to show up on time, flex new sides of my brain and show professionalism when I want to scream are valuable life skills that I need to be ready when the bigger stuff hits. It’s allowing me to become a warrior in my own life. This is not a crap job. It’s a magic tool belt to refine my spirit. It’s a petri dish for my character defects and because of it I get to grow.

Life is not a Starbucks drink. I don’t get to stand in line with a kushy gift card and order a Venti Existence with Three Pumps of Joy and a Side of Career. (With a gift card no less!) I get to earn it fair and square so I’m ready when the big stuff comes along.

And here’s the real kicker: What if the big stuff is not out there? What if this is the big stuff… this very minute? This very “smells like Pike standing on my feet working it all out in a green apron” minute? Is that good enough?

The very plain answer is yes. Because right here… right now… is where my kids get to be 12 and 13. Where I get to work on my relationship with my spouse. Where I get to serve others and love on my nasty customers and try to make someone else’s world better each and every day.

And in doing so I get the greatest riches of all.

Peace.

Just a few thoughts for today.

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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My Friend’s Kid is THAT Kid. ADHD

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Keeping this short. After a long day of cramming in freelance jobs, full time work searching, getting the kids off to school earlier than normal, an “OH MY GOSH I NEED A BATHING SUIT FOR THE YOUTH GROUP POOL PARTY” fiasco and then, of course, rushing over the party only to come home for two minutes to rush back, I wonder if I, perhaps, have ADHD.

Alas, just the ever persistent contact-switching mama brain.

Before the sun sets on another day in paradise, I wanted you to see an article written by a friend’s son, Jackson. It appeared in Additude Magazine and I thought it was so well written for a young kid.

With ADHD licking at our ears, it’s a good reminder to not judge but instead help our kids learn to advocate. I don’t know about your kids, but for us, Stink’s ADD is more of a challenge then the tics themselves.

Side note (because when am I ever on track?): Had a GREAT phone conversation with Dr. Nicole Beurkens. Situated in Michigan, this psychologist started out as a special needs teacher, then moved into the consulting side of special needs to more deeply support kids and parents. What began as a summer program for special needs kids in her basement, morphed into a 10,000 square foot practice where she treats all sorts of neurological disorders holistically.

With a team of nutritionists, psychologists and natural practitioners, she supports the whole child (and his/her family) to balance out their brain without medication. Here’s just a tiny snippet from her website. In depth article to come as well as a book review!

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If Meds are For You – No Judgement!

Again there’s no one-size-fits-all and I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Let’s Hear Your Success Stories!

Who has had success with drug options? Who has had success with medication? Who just has an awesome kid who is the best thing that has ever happened to them? (Me me me!)

I love and support you all. We are in this together.

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Hippe…Hippie…Hooray!

Hippe…Hippie…Hooray!

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A few friends of mine are getting together in a couple weeks to get some goals accomplished. It’ll be kind of a mini salon, except without the French people and berets. Think moms and dads with pony tails and uni-brows shoving Trader Joe’s taquitos into their pie holes, sipping Diet Coke and downing Two Buck Chuck. (Um, with the crowd I’m known to link arms with, the uni-brows and pony tails describe either the men or the women. No judgement.)

It’s that last part that really gets me scratching my head at times. I truly never expected to be that person who, at 46, was sending out invites to fellow writers and painters to meet on my cull de sac on a Friday evening. I thought I’d be a hip studio climber, hob nobbing with script writers and discussing pilot premieres. And I did.

For a time.

But these days, I find myself less excited over television releases and more thrilled over musical theater releases.

It’s less about show launches and more about the premiere of book launches.

When it comes right down to it, I’m less interested in image. I’m more interested in soul. I’m not a hip person – I’m a hippie!

Many of my friends have gawked at me with my whale backpack, turquoise earrings and enough library books to kill a poodle in a single drop and utter, “Duh! HIPPIE!” But me? This comes as a surprise. Hippie-ness kind of snuck up on me while I was still fast clinging to my ego. And, well, as much as I hate to admit it, my ego was pretty massive. It had me twenty pounds lighter and twenty times richer.

It had me raising kids with hip names like Vida and Jax. These weren’t kids that snuck Hump Day videos on my computer every Wednesday or chastised me for not giving them money to get a fancy dog trainer for our dog. Heck, my ego would not have chosen THIS crazy mutt from the pound in the first place!

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I was supposed to have a yoga body not just because I worked out, but because I could afford yoga classes.

I was supposed to drink Starbucks every day because that’s where I had my writing meetings, not because that was where I worked. Maybe. (Not saying I will or will not be working there, but let’s just say that health benefits at this time do not suck.)

Lest you think I want to live as a modest hippie for the rest of my life, getting hopped up on free Venti White Mochas, I do not. I will not say no to a bigger career if that is what God has for me. I will live in abundance and always work my craft. But for now… when I get really still… when I drown out all those other voices that tell me what I should want, a quiet whisper defiantly rises up reminding me of what I really want.

And I want this.

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The big, messy, chaotic, impractical, not always perfect but amazing life that I have.

Because on the rare occasion after a hike we take that fabulous family photo…

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… most days we’re just getting through the day by day with as much joy as possible.

This means turning Costco into an icy adventure.

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And enjoying family walks to school because both my hubby and I are not working such nutty hours that we can’t enjoy the turning of leaves or a quick wave to Wing, the neighbor, who is so proud of his daughter for getting into UC Irvine. Go Ant Eaters!

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I want conversations with my son in the front seat of our stinky SUV on the difference between “taking a joke” and “not standing up for oneself” and, when the ticking – which is on a very high upswing these days gets a bit frustrating – I want to put my hand on on his and be grateful for his ticking heart.

 

Embracing what is, not what I wish was, makes my now living wow living. It’s not one I take for granted – even on my super tired, nothing is working, OH FOR DUCK SAKE days.

Along a similar bend,  a new blog I found, Grief Happens, has been talking about meditation these days. It’s been fun to watch her journey. I don’t know if I’ll start a sitting and breathing practice myself, but I’m all for becoming more intentional with who I’m sitting with.

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And as long as I’m breathing in more peace – even if that means talking art with my friends on a Friday night instead of being at a club or a show premiere this hippie will take it.

Anyone out there find life different than what they expected? I want to hear!

Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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To Medicate or Not to Medicate – That is the Question

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Many of you readers know that I’ve struggled with the idea of medication for my kid. He definitely has focus issues. And he’s definitely eccentric.

Fantasy thinking: If I were homeschooling him, his lack of attention would not be an issue. I could adjust his lesson plans to his personality.

Reality thinking: He’s going to public school.

Fantasy thinking: My kid could be so much more “accepted” by the regular herd if his energy and eccentricity were taken down a notch.

Reality thinking: Why should I medicate my kid for anyone else? If HE needs it to survive socially and academically, I’ll do it. But if he is managing, it makes no sense.

It’s a tough call. He is struggling socially with the “in” folk, but he is wildly accepted by the “outside” funk kids. He knows who he is. (Bueller… Ducky… your buddy is available for a hangout at the card shop.)

I wrote something on my Facebook page a month or so back, and I stand by it:

In thinking about Prince’s death, I can’t help but look at it through the perspective of a middle school mother. Prince’s audacity, style and outrageousness is hailed as revolutionary by folk across cultures, lifestyles and ages. He, like Bowie, is considered iconic and to be admired – which he is. It’s truly a loss. But when non-typical kids in middle school dare to do the same, they are often shunned and discarded. It’s an interesting dichotomy…that to be cool… one first must have the courage to be uncool. I would have loved to known Bowie and Prince in Middle School. I have a feeling they would be at my house on Taco Tuesdays.

Here’s to your crazy ones – medicated or not. It’s a tough call, and I support you and your kids either way. We are in this together, Mamas!

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Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Is Your Kid Joyful or Feral? It’s a Fine Line!

 

It’s Saturday. I slept until 10am – a rarity for this tired mama.

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I just lingered under the covers until I felt like shuffling toward the kitchen for a lovely cup of Starbucks in my favorite mug. It was, dare I say, peaceful? Which of course could only mean one thing:

There would be hell to pay.

My son was found hunched over a video screen with his buddy, Tyler.

Me: “Stink, how long have you been on that thing? Be honest.”

Him: “About one hour.”

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Me: (Attempting to be calm.) “Really? Because isn’t one of your friends coming over at 1 to play with you?”

Him: “No.”

Me: Sigh of relief.

Him: “Two more are coming. Holden and Adrian.”

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Me: (Blood now rising like hot air balloon…. in Hades.) “If you only get two hours/day on the computer (picture Patience with Control Issues rising) and you’re now playing for one hour (insert the image of a harpie on steriods) then do you mean to tell me you’re only going to play for one hour when your buddies come over?”

Him: (Instantly shutting down the screen) “Sorry, Mom.”

Me: (Determined not to go into a full on lecture. Going into a full on lecture.) 2

“You are 13! Thirteen! I don’t want to micromanage you, dude, but apparently I’m going to have to because if I can’t trust you to be responsible with your gaming limits then clearly I can’t trust you in the future when you are driving and going to work… if you even qualify for anything besides playing Mario Cart… and really is this what I am going to have to do deal with first thing in the morning FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?

Him: (Calm as a cucumber) “No, Mom. Just for today.”

Me: (Taking a deep breath) “Okay. You’re right. I’m sorry I over reacted.”

Him: (Hugging me) “It’s okay.” (Then) “To make it up to me, can I have a few more minutes?”

Con artist.

I could have gone loco. (Like just yesterday, when I had the grand idea that the way to stop an arguing ADHD teenager is to put my hands on his mouth and see if it would block the noise from coming through the pie hole. Um, note: That totally doesn’t work.)

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Instead, that’s when I took the high road. I put my arms around him, took a deep breath, told him how much I loved him, and invited him into a moment of prayer to bond and connect with our Lord, Jesus then reached my long arms down and pinched his butt.

He retaliated by grabbing a bag of gluten free bread and smacking me on the side of the noggin.

GAME. ON. (And this one didn’t require a plug.)

The moral of the story: Sometimes turning a potentially explosive moment into a joyful one can keep you from killing your offspring.

Underlying points of the moral of the story: I can be controlling sometimes. The kid is not a baby. I don’t need to be policing his every move.

The flip side of my controlling tendencies: If I don’t teach him consequences and boundaries, who will? And even more to the point (yes, I over think… like you don’t, readers?) if I don’t keep my anger in check, what’s the point of keeping him off the games in the first place if he’s only going to deal with a crazy mother who screams at him first thing in the morning with bad hair and no caffeine in her pre-menopause body GOD HELP US ALL!!!?

No, as Farmer Stacey always reminds me, relationship trumps being right.

This kid will be out of my house of my house (idealistically) in five years. While I want him to grow into a man of discipline and respect, I want him to remember being a boy who experienced silliness, laughter and love.

For me, this area is difficult, because I don’t always have the most boundaries with myself.

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I don’t care about time restraints and house tasks and being on time for important meetings (Dear God, please let me work on my time issues) as much as I value chatting up the random shopper at Trader Joes about her guinea pig business and the pros and cons of fresh tumeric vs. cholesterol meds. If only I could be paid for being a chatty Kathy human being instead of a warehouse worker!  Life would be perfect! (Oh yeah, I scored the perfect job for me! More to come!)

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How about you, mamas?

Where is your happy balance in this parenting deal? How do you find the balance between a kid who is joyful and a kid who is feral?

The line is shaky, is it not? (Especially when you have a kid like mine.)

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Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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ADHD – Another Day Having Discussions

 

I used to read that the “co-morbid” conditions of T.S. were far more frustrating than the tics themselves.

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As defined, co-morbid means the annoying other conditions that make you want to poke your eyes out with ice picks the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient. For kids with Tourettes, this could be ADHD, OCD, Autism, ADD and insane awesomeness.

Stink deals with the last two on the list, and let me tell you, it’s been a crazy year. If I was able to guide him through the chaos, drama and joy that accompanies kinder through sixth grade, let’s just say that seventh grade has proven to be the final leak in a boat that was destined to sink without a major overhaul in the floorboard.

Having a kid with T.S. and ADD, while being a working parent with a little bit of ADHD herself (I know… biiiig shock) is kind of like fixing a boat’s floor while still on the water. It can be done, but the progress is slow. (Not to mention tiring. How many buckets of water can you scoop and throw over the side while steering the ship and feeding the crew?)

The best bet to fixing that leak is to get that boat out of the ocean all together. Take a break from the swells and breathe while your vessel chills out on dry docks. Get a professional boat repair man (or woman – no prejudice here!). Invest in his advice, buy the supplies to keep it fresh and clean once it’s back on the water, and absolutely join a hole-in-the-boat support group. After all, there’s a decent chance that at some point that gash in the floorboard will come back. You’ll want another mama to cruise by in her motorboat when this happens.  You’ll want that lifeline and the invitation to a cup of coffee in her well stocked cabin to catch your breath until your own boat works again.

Since life is not apparently perfect, I’m kind of stuck in the middle between shore and open water. I’ve been organizing my own life, to help organize Stink’s, and we’ve made progress. I am avoiding a lot of frustration by accepting life on life’s terms. I am not focusing on what he’s behind on in school. (Um, everything.) Instead, I’m focusing on helping him get caught up with the goal that he’ll be doing this himself at some point.

This means coming home each day after school and doing his work in the same spot. It means having him diligently utilize his planner so that he’s not relying on his own brain to remember every little detail of his “overwhelming” (his words) seventh grade schedule.

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The challenge with using a planner is that you have to remember to take your planner home. And then, here’s the real rub: you have to find it in the first place. And when that task seems too monumental, you just throw yourself on the floor and scream like a Carolina fan reach out to an educator who knows you’re doing your best to help your kid.

Here’s an email exchange I had yesterday with one of his educators, minus the teacher’s name because, you know, these teachers have nothing better to do than stalk their ADD student’s mom’s blog.

Hi Teacher Fabulous-

The last piece of my kid’s organization puzzle is his missing planner. He is out sick today so when he’s back tomorrow I will have him check his locker. If it’s not there, is there an extra he can have? If not, I will buy one and he will be held accountable.
If there is any homework you need him to do today, please feel free to let me know. 
Thanks!

Andrea

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Hi Andrea,
I don’t have any extra planners.  I gave my last one away a few weeks ago.
We are practicing percents in a new packet today.  Do you want to pick it up later?  Let me know.
Thanks,
Teacher Fabulous
** 
 
Hi again –  
 

Yes, I will pick it up today after school if that works for you? If not, you can leave it in the office. Whatever is best. 

Can I just pick up a planner at an educational store?
THIS KID. He better get with the program or I’m returning him. I have books to write.
Andrea
**
Andrea – 

I have to supervise out front after school.  I’ll do my best to remember to bring it out there with me so you can get it then.  

I would make your own life easy and just go to Target or Walmart for a planner.  
There’s a thirty day return policy…..sorry, you can’t return him!  🙂
Teacher Fabulous
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Oh for fucks sake. 
Andrea
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Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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