Saturday, July 31, 2010

Back to the Woods

About this time last year, I was fixing to take Velvet to college. At the time, I thought it felt a lot like taking him to sleep-away camp, except he'd be studying Forestry Engineering instead of survival skills (In Which Velvet Runs into the Woods, Stonerdate 06.28.09). He did study, some. Actually, he thinks he busted his ass - and maybe he did - but it looks to me like he focused exclusively on Survival Skills.

It was a freshman year destined to become legend. I'm not sure which part was my favorite: The King of the Halloween Party (Stonerdate 11.04.09), his arrest for being a dumb ass (Velvet Gets Arrested, Stonerdate 04.17.10), or finding this photo on his Facebook account:

He considers his freshman year a success since Tree Hugger Academy is allowing him to return. He's on Academic Probation for another semester, and he's on Disciplinary Probation for life due to his run in with The Law - and I figure that's a good place to begin his third semester as a college freshman.

He's going up to Hookah House today on the bus. I'm heading up there tomorrow with the first load of provisions for his new apartment. He has to appear in court on Tuesday. It's a damn good thing that Tree Hugger and Big Beautiful Private University share services so that the boy gets a free lawyer because if there had been legal fees attached to his arrest for being a dumb ass, I'd be pissed off. But the whole episode has been handled so neatly by the Institution that it looks to me as if keeping privileged dumb asses out of jail is standard operating procedure.

A close review of events determined that the boy was not arrested for swiping the fraternity letters at all. He was arrested because when Big Beautiful Private's University Police wanted him to reveal the name of his friend, he said, "I don't have to tell you because you're not real police." One of the officers then said, "That's right. We're not real police. But we can put you in handcuffs until they get here."

I still wish that we could have a copy of the mug shot for his baby book. Maybe I can get one through a public information officer - but for now, I remain content that the arresting officers speak highly of his manners.

He's no longer a Forest Engineering major either. He's switched to Environmental Studies, which is the closet thing Tree Hugger has to a liberal arts degree. And I'm in the process of arranging for an Executive Functioning Coach to facilitate his transition to college from a Self Contained Special Education setting for kids with ADHD, Dyslexia and other learning differences. Tree Hugger and Big Beautiful Private both have adequate generic supports for SPED students, but the differences between his school in New York and college was so great that we have to build our own bridge.

Private measures must be instituted to deal with this situation. Fortunately, the Education Department at Big Beautiful Private offers a BA in Inclusive and Special Education and five students have already applied to be my son's Coach.

Now that we know what to expect at Tree Hugger and Big Beautiful Private, I feel like he's set up for success this fall. It's a lot like he's going back to Sleep Away Camp and Hookah House is his cabin. All things considered, he was very successful in the social arena last year. He's a kid who needs solid peer support, and now that he's got his Hookah brothers, he feels comfortable.

I still have no clue where this path is leading, but it's leading somewhere. I'm pretty sure there's blue skies ahead.

The Road up at Hippy Dippy Quaker camp in Vermont and the sky over the field where I was taking a nap a couple of years ago.


intelliwench said...

I know the director of the tutoring & study center at Big Beautiful Private U -- it's a good place, and they definitely recognize that learning isn't a one-size-fits all prospect!

PENolan said...

Syracuse? Really?

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Good luck this semester. Mine moves in to the dorms in 2 weeks. He's going into a scholars program(how did that happen?) for science geeks. If he can just stay away from the video games long enough to get some sleep, attend class and do some homework, he just might make it. I wish universities would ban video games on campus. They're such a life sucker!

Gail said...


I love your Mom stories...and your style with Velvet. The legal system is fascinating - smooth huh? It looks beautiful there - Enjoy.

Love you girl
pece and hope.....

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

His first year sounded a lot like mine.

PENolan said...

Gail, I'm actually relaxed and proud of the boy - whom I may be calling Buster from now on. He just doesn't seem like Velvet Jones, the Illiterate Pimp Eddie Murphy made famous, any more.

Good luck with all that - those kids have video games all over the dang place.

Dr MVM, you give me hope.

Lisa said...

I'm using my interplanetary vision to see blue skies for him. I'm glad that he's going to have some of the support he needs to get him well-launched. Even though I wasn't classified educationally different, I wonder how having some kind of coaching might have helped me make better use of my time in school. When I wasn't being a resistant ass, of course.

And yes, I laughed at what got him into trouble with the coppers. I'd find it hard to be angry at my own kids if they did something like that.

Jaliya said...

Velvet's got you as a Mom. He'll thrive.

dissed said...

I like him.

I tell my 14 y.o., "I know you don't want to listen to me. But the reason you need to listen to me is, I've Been There, Done That and lived to tell you these great stories." She finds it difficult to argue, because she wants to hear all the stories.

Buster's going to have some REALLY fine stories.

PENolan said...

dissed, I like him too. He's a great character who is living out loud.

Jaliya, your mouth to G*d's ears - or as I prefer to say, The Dog's Ears.

Lisa, it is hard to stay mad at anyone who is like a 8 month old Labrador mutt. Over the years, I've noticed that the intervention and remediation necessary and/or helpful for SPEDs can benefit all students. It's just a shame a kid has to have a label and stacks of evaluations before s/he can get what s/he needs at school.

MRMacrum said...

I think you will find that no matter where his path leads, you will never be too far behind. My daughter keeps popping up on my concern list and she's 27.

We never stop being parents.

Love the gas mask bong BTW.

Anonymous said...

At least if he needs the extra support, he will be able to get the help he may need. I dealt will a child that had ADHD, that in it's self was a test of spirt and will power for everyone concerned. And if the right people become involved with him, it will help him the rest of his life. So many never are able to get help.
Good Luck.
Were on you way, if you ever decide to stop. Call.

Ricky Shambles said...

I only hope we can remain as close as we are now to our 14-year old during those years as you are to Velvet. Great blog!

Beach Bum said...

Environmental Studies

Totally cool!! I'd be willing to bet that field will be a safe and dependable one. As much as the republicans bitch and moan environmental concerns are only going to grow.

PENolan said...

Beach, I'm counting on it
MRMacrum, I'm counting on that, too.
Ricky, welcome!
Pat - we went through Albany this time, but I was thinking of you. I'll be passing through again at the tail end of August. If you send me your contact info, maybe we can have a cup of tea.

Liberality said...

Good luck!

And that's all I gotta say ;~)

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