Category Archives: Parenting

I have a unique perspective on parenting due to my autistic son.

Everything Is Awesome

I have been waiting impatiently for the release of Deadpool and was set to see it first thing Friday, February 12. But Mr. Murphy, of Murphy’s Law (the saying, not the TV show) had other plans for me. I got sick on Thursday and I’m still fighting it. But I dragged myself out of the house on Tuesday the 16th to finally see the Merch with a Mouth.

I write a series of books where the main character (well, the one who talks anyways) speaks sarcasm fluently, so anything with a lot of snark is right up my alley. The film did not disappoint and after seeing it I have dubbed it “The Greatest Romance Film Of All Time”.

Yes, a romance film. While that my seem bass-ackwards to those who are only vaguely familiar with the movie, let me make my point – without spoilers of course, every point that seems spoilery has been seen in the trailers.

Love At First Sight/Snark
When the couple first meets there is an instant attraction and they verbally have a “who had it worse as a child” sparring match. This is a standard plot device of any romantic film. It doesn’t matter that the guy is a merchant for hire who kills people and the gal is a woman who sells her body, they are people and they form a relationship.

Committed Relationship
The relationship is committed. He supports her and she supports him. They compliment each other. They both have respect for one another. Yes there is a great montage of sex scenes but people in committed relationships have sex. Sex is a great thing in a committed relationship.

I took my 16-year old son to see this picture and we had a wonderful discussion on love and relationships. I know the kid watches porn on his phone, I’ve seen it. But instead of chastising him I used it as an opportunity for open discussion. Porn is unrealistic, even the people in the industry know that. Kids today with their abstinence-only sex education have legitimate questions about sex and relationships that no one will answer. They want to be educated but the American culture has such a hard time with discussing sex that we give them tons of violence instead. It’s stupid.

Also, my son is autistic and everything has to be explained very bluntly because he doesn’t get subtlety. Much like Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Surviving Tragedy
The guy is diagnosed with cancer – everywhere. It’s terminal. He wants to leave so she doesn’t have to watch him die. She is tough, she won’t let go. She looks at all options, all remedies. She never once considers leaving him alone with such a huge emotional bag to carry.

Enduring Faith
So the guy gets his special “treatment” and the side effects result in the “one avocado having sex with a slightly older avocado” condition of his looks. He loses faith in himself. He thinks he can never go back to her because of his looks. It is a shallow and simplistic assumption. He completely underestimates the love his woman has for him. He falters, badly, with deadly consequences.

It’s very much like a rom-com but with lots of gratuitous violence and an awesome, explosive ending.

As a female movie-goer who loves action movies this film is to be applauded for it’s depiction of the main female characters. All of them were treated with respect, given meaningful roles, and they all kicked major ass. There is a female villain that holds her own with the giant silver guy and their fight is awesome.

As a movie buff, the opening credit sequence was the best I have ever seen with a major shout-out to the writers who are the most overlooked professionals in this business. Writers are the tortured souls of film, giving their carefully prepared works to studio executives who then tear through the thoughts and words like Vikings through an English village.

 

[POST SCRIPT: Regarding the horrific reaction to male genitalia being seen on the screen, it’s completely overblown. The guy is fighting naked, his penis is going to be seen however briefly. That is what happens when you fight without clothing, people. Hate to scare you, but we are all naked under our clothing.]

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The Next Parenting Phase: High School and College

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A very busy summer made posting here a low priority. Part of the summer work was preparing my two boys for their journey into the next level of schooling – high school for my younger son and college for my older.

My older son is the high-performing kid and my younger is high-functioning autistic; so I get the full educational spectrum from Advanced Placement to Special Education. I always joke that between then I have one normal kid. I want to stress that that is a joke. I love both my sons dearly and revel in the unique people that they are.

The high school my younger son is attending is the same as his brother, so we all know what to expect. However, I realized that I had to educate my older son on college concepts such as:

  • the difference between California State University system and University of California system; including requirements for entry
  • the semester system versus the year system
  • class credit units
  • lecture courses and lab courses

Since he started high school, my older son has been encouraged to attend a local community college since he wasn’t sure what he wanted to study. I made the same choice 30+ years ago; it was a great time to discover what I was passionate about while completing my general education. I thought he would have time to try different classes while completing his general ed, but I found out that this is not the case anymore.

In today’s rush to get kids through school these colleges now want them to declare a major so the counselors can help them target their general ed for which university they want to attend. I’m not very pleased by this concept since it pushes kids to make lifelong choices with little information or experience. What happens when he transfers to his 4-year school then decides he wants a completely different major? When did “general” education become “specific” education?

The difference in his experience versus my experience is part and parcel of “they don’t do it that way anymore” syndrome. Us parents recall fond memories of our college days and believe that things still work the same way; then we find out how things have changed since we were in school. I was prepared for online registration and e-books (which I wish I had back in the 80s), but the notion of “declare a major, pick a 4-year school, and create a designer general ed plan” threw me.

This atmosphere of pushing kids through the system angers me. I felt the same way when my younger son (heck, all the kids) was pushed to read in Kindergarten. Wasn’t that where we were supposed to learn our numbers and letters? Children are just getting used to the concept of “school” and its expectations in Kindergarten, why are they being pushed to read along with all the other stresses? Especially an autistic child who takes longer to process things than the other kids. If my younger son had attended school in the 60s with me, he would have been the “slow” kid and given extra time to get work done.

Fortunately my younger son is in a good program at his high school and does get the time to understand the lessons. Yes, algebra is tough and most of us didn’t like it but my son is at least getting used to the mathematical concepts. As a parent I expect him to do the same as my older son, which is complete his homework assignments and do what is asked of him during class. The amount and depth of the work is different, but the process is the same.

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