I picked this up for my younger son (he's 9) to read, because I thought it might help him understand his older brother a little better.
See, my oldest...moreI picked this up for my younger son (he's 9) to read, because I thought it might help him understand his older brother a little better.
See, my oldest son (he's 12) was diagnosed with PDDNOS when he was 6. That means he's on the autism spectrum, but it's not as noticeable as it is with some kids. Basically, he just gets pegged as a weirdo. A lot. Why? Because he does weird stuff, of course! Or at least, that's what my 9 year old thinks.
This book was written by a 14 year old autistic boy, named Daniel Stefanski. I have to say, it does a good job of hitting the basics. My younger son and I read it together, and it was easy to discuss the 'tips' Daniel gives, because it was written in such a kid-friendly way.
Language difficulties are a huge problem for kids like this, and the section What I hear was really pertinent. In the book, a little boy is saying, "My teacher is a thousand years old", and the other boy is picturing an extremely old man. We've had a lot of personal experience with stuff like that. I remember one time we were trying to make my son feel better about an eye appointment, and my husband told him, "Don't worry about the eye drops, you won't feel a thing". This led to hysteria, because he thought the eye drops were going to numb his entire body. Yes, seriously.
What I don't see was another section we talked a lot about. Most people don't think about how much we read body language for social cues, but I've learned over the years that it's a HUGE issue if you can't. One of the things we talked out was how difficult it is for my oldest to figure out if people are kidding or not. If you can't tell the difference between Good job! (translation: You are awesome!) and Good job. (translation: You are a dumbass.) then you have no idea what the appropriate response back should be. I remember one time, when my oldest was about 8, he came crying to me at the pool, because this other little girl was being mean to him. I asked him what happened, and he said that she was saying that he was a 'slow swimmer'. So what did she say exactly, honey? She said, 'You can't catch me!". Um. Yeah, it actually took me a while to convince him that the nice little girl just wanted him to play tag in the water, because he wasn't buying it at first. As far as he was concerned, she was a mean kid who had it out for him. In case you're wondering, he finally gave her another chance, and they spent the rest of the afternoon happily smacking each other on the back.
The entire book is is a fun way to help kids who don't have autism understand a bit more about kids that do. The main goal is to hopefully show that just because someone is quirky or odd, doesn't mean that they don't have feelings. I know it wasn't written especially for siblings, but it helped us out because it was so short and to the point. There isn't much (if any) medical terminology in the book, either. Bonus!
I picked this up for my eight year old son the other day, and he didn't quit talking about it for two days. Two days of random facts about pee.
"Hey,...moreI picked this up for my eight year old son the other day, and he didn't quit talking about it for two days. Two days of random facts about pee.
"Hey, Mom! Did you know that the first gas masks were made out of cloth that had been soaked in pee?! Yeah! They just tied it around their faces! Ewwww!"
"Hey, Mom! Did you know that people used to put pee in their ears to cure earaches?! Ewwww!"
"Hey, Mom! Did you know lobsters pee in each others' faces?!" Ewwww!"
So, yeah, he loved it. I ended up reading it while I was sitting in the car line waiting to pick the kids up, and you know what? It was pretty cool. Unfortunately, now I have a bunch of random facts about pee stuck in my brain. (less)
Maybe if you are especially stupid, this book will help you read other people. Although, I don't know exactly how gullible you'd have to be for this b...moreMaybe if you are especially stupid, this book will help you read other people. Although, I don't know exactly how gullible you'd have to be for this book to do you any good.
It's basically filled with sage observations like, Watch how someone treats waitresses and busboys if you want to know what kind of person they really are underneath it all. Seriously, who doesn't already know that if a person treats the 'meaningless' people in their lives like shit, then they're probably an asshole?
I'm not sure who came up with the title for the book, but they obviously hadn't read it beforehand. It makes it sound as though you can read this, and then be better able to make snap decisions when you're in a social setting. Yeah, not so much. The point that this book hammered home time and time again, is that you have to spend quite a bit of time observing and interacting with someone in order to understand their motives. Gee! I would never have thought to do that!
The last chapter was about making decisions about people or situations when you're on the fly. Trust your instinct, and err on the side of caution. Again, wow. So you're saying if I'm feeling kind of uncomfortable about this guy who is walking toward my mini-van full of kids, that I should just floor it and leave his creepy ass eating my dust?! Damn! Sure am glad I read this book!(less)
I've got mixed feeling about this book. It didn't make me laugh out loud, but there were quite a few things that I thought were funny. I don't know if...moreI've got mixed feeling about this book. It didn't make me laugh out loud, but there were quite a few things that I thought were funny. I don't know if you have to be Southern to get her humor, but I'm sure it wouldn't hurt. I did think she played up the Hick-Factor a bit too much, and I found it a little tiring towards the end.
However, Rivenbark caught my attention right off the bat by lampooning something that I have long hated...The Perfect Attendance Award. I cringe inside every time some poor kid wins that award. Then the principal gives her stupid little speech about how, "All of the kids up on this stage have come to school every day, even when they didn't feel good". What does that mean, exactly? Well, let me tell you what it means. It means that @!$#ing kid got one of my kids sick, who in turn infected everyone else in my house...that's what it means. I'm here to tell you, having four little kids with raging diarrhea for a week will change your religion! I hate those Alpha Parent assholes. What is an Alpha Parent, you ask? If any of you out there have kids in school, then you know who I'm talking about. For those of you who don't, they are these crazy parents who get too wrapped up in their kids' lives. They are actually spectacular creatures to watch in action. By God, Johnny will get that award! Give 'em a Tylenol and send 'em to class! You'll find quite a few of them on the PTA. Yeah, you know who you are. So, the moral of the story is, parents don't be so competitive. Your kid will not get into a better college just because they got that retarded award. And if I find out which one of you is responsible for Diarrhea '08...May God have mercy on your soul.
Rivenbark also touched on several other things I could personally relate to. One being the small southern town's way of overlooking Quirky People. You know, the crazies that other sections of the country probably lock up. Jill, if you're reading this, do you remember that guy who hung around the high school, and (reportedly) like to poop in his boots and show it off? Good times.
So, yes. This book had cute moments, and I recognized quite a few things from my upbringing. And no, I don't know anyone in the south who really talks like that...much. Y'all.
There is a lot of great information in here about how we are thoroughly saturated with a consumer culture, and how it has trickled down (in a big way)...moreThere is a lot of great information in here about how we are thoroughly saturated with a consumer culture, and how it has trickled down (in a big way) to our kids. I didn't like that the author skewed toward the left while lampooning the right, though. That kind of thing annoys me, 'cause I pretty much fall in the middle somewhere. I'm an Independent who voted for a Democrat last time...and I haven't seen much of a change. Still, I agree with the core of her argument. We have allowed our kids to become too brand-conscious. And why? Is a purse really worth several thousand dollars? No. Because it's not made out of some magical material that gives you the ability to fly or be in two places at one time...that's why. In order to change the way your kids look at consumerism, you've gotta practice what you preach.
Her argument also states that kids' self-esteem is now so closely tied to materialism, it's hard for today's parents to just say no. In other words, do you want your kid to get picked on for being the only dork who doesn't have (insert trendy crap here). This was the most (I felt) valid point that she made. Peer pressure is a bitch. And without other parents stepping up, and putting their foot down to all the unnecessary excess, you're pretty much stuck looking like The Meanest Mom Alive. That's my official title, but the way. So what can we do?
It's not impossible to turn off your cable. I know because I did it several months ago, opting instead to use streaming video and tv that didn't have commercials. Honestly, I only did it to save money. But the bonus side effect was that my kids stopped asking me (400 times a day!) to buy them useless toys and other crappy products. I'll admit that that was why I got interested in this book. Still, turning off the tv and advertising doesn't fix the above mentioned problem with peer pressure.
As your kids get older, you come to the sad realization that they no longer think you are awesome. Shocking, I know! One of the points the author makes is that parents (and adults in general) are portrayed as bumbling retards in children's television, movies, and games. At the worst they are absent and uncaring, at the best just plain dorky. Does watching this kind of stuff over and over help erode our authority with kids when it comes to knowing what's best for them? Personally, I think most of it is harmless fun. Maybe I can say that, though, because I spend a great deal of my time laughing and joking with my kids. What if I was a working mother who only had limited time to spend building a bond? I'm not sure how I would feel about it then. I have a feeling I might be kinda pissed off if I had to really fight for my kids to take me seriously.
She also talks about the sad state of junk food and fast food in children's diets. I agree with her totally. McDonald's should be a special treat...not a weekly (or God forbid, daily) destination. I don't think there are too many people out there at this point who can argue with the fact that our kids are (in general) getting a little porky. At the same time, the media is still hawking that unattainable scrawny body image (complete with giant fake boobs) to girls. It's just as bad for the boys, though. Exactly how many hours in the gym do you think those 20something year olds (who are playing high school students) have to spend in the gym to look like that? Again, eating healthy foods, finding fun ways to get your kids active, and explaining why the people on tv do not have bodies they need to aspire to, takes time and effort on the part of the parents. Unfortunately, in order to make enough money to buy all of the 'stuff' that we think we (and our kids) need, a lot of us just don't have that kind of time anymore.
The bottom line is that you have to spend time with your kids. It's not easy, but overcoming the media overload can be done. I think over the years it has become more socially acceptable to just throw up our hands and shrug. What can I do? Kids are different now than they were when I was growing up. Hyuck, hyuck! Ya gotta give 'em what they want, right? As a group, we've collectively decided that the inmates are now running the asylum. However, if we step back and take a look, we can see just how silly this kind of thinking is. We're Grown-Ups, for God's sake! Nickelodeon may think that Kids Rule!, but the reality is that Adults Are In Charge!, especially when it comes to putting the kibosh on all the crazy excess. Here's a typical conversation in my house: You are my kid and I love you with all my heart, but I don't give a rat's a$$ what your friend's mom does. Oh yeah? Get back to me in ten years, and we'll see how your pal is doing. I suck? Really? Good! That's what I was hoping you'd say! You're running away? Huh. Well, that's certainly a good decision. *an hour later* You still here? Gee, I was looking forward to cutting the grocery bill. Wanna go hang out at the pool? M'kay. Go get your bathing suit on then.
I got about halfway through with this back in 1999 (when I was preggo with my 1st), before I chucked it. I'm getting pissed off just thinking about it...moreI got about halfway through with this back in 1999 (when I was preggo with my 1st), before I chucked it. I'm getting pissed off just thinking about it right now. There I was, a brand-new mother-to-be, and this ridiculous book had me convinced that every time I farted there was something wrong with me! And believe me, I farted quite a bit. Trust me, if you want to be a nervous wreck, run out and buy this book. Otherwise, relax. Babies are hearty little suckers. Just because you take Tylenol for headaches, drink a cup of coffee, or opt to eat the entire chocolate cake instead of veggies, does not mean that your kid will be born with hideous birth defects. Here's my advice, after having four healthy kids: Don't drink a bottle of wine for breakfast, and stay away from crack. Ta-da!(less)
I waffled back and forth between three and four stars, so I guess I'd give this one three and a half. It was informative, but not really what I was exp...moreI waffled back and forth between three and four stars, so I guess I'd give this one three and a half. It was informative, but not really what I was expecting. The title and description leads you to believe that this is a sort of 'survival guide' that will help you hone your natural instincts, so you can detect dangerous situations before it is too late. Eh, not as much as I'd hoped. I'm not saying it's devoid of good advice, because in between stories and statistics there are some good tips. How to avoid being considered as a potential victim to unsavory people, how to initially react to stalkers, and why you should trust your gut when something feels 'off' are a few mentioned in the book. It's just that you have to sift through a lot of stuff to get those tidbits of information. One of the things that kept the book rolling were the interesting tales of the crazy and dangerous people that the author has encountered (either through his personal experience or through one of his clients). The book also includes his opinions on different problems we have within the justice system. He is very big on preventative maintenance (rightly so), and some of the book focuses on how to keep situations with stalkers from escalating to violence without using restraining orders (he believes this causes most cases to become worse). A large part of the book was also dedicated to assassins (yes, assassins) and domestic abuse. Thankfully, I am not a victim of domestic violence, nor do I think I will ever be the target of an assassination attempt. So, while the stories were interesting (and sad), that part of the book was not particularly helpful to me, personally. All in all, it was good, just not what I was looking for.(less)