Livin’ la Vida Loca – With apologies to Ricky Martin

Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting in a conference room for over an hour getting barraged by 7 people whose singular intent was to tell me all the ways that Travis was not meeting expectations for 5th grade work.

Mrs. Scates, he’s only reading at a third grade level.

Mrs. Scates, he can’t answer “why” questions.

Mrs. Scates, he doesn’t understand the concept of fractions.

Mrs. Scates, he keeps figuring out how to get around the computer’s security firewall.

Way to go, kid.  Maybe you have employment opportunities as a hacker.

Mr. CPQ was not with me for this little gathering.  That’s actually a good thing.   He used to have to come for moral support because after twenty minutes I would be emotionally overwhelmed by the constant stream of bad news and I’d shut down and start crying and he would have to finish the meeting for me.  After 9 years of doing this (we started his IEP planning when he was three years old), I’ve progressed to the point that I can now wait until I get to the car before I break down.

After the bearing of the bad news, we managed to get the necessary goals and strategies written and the forms signed and we all went about our day, but a tinge of sadness stayed tucked in my heart.

Until this morning.

As I was unloading the kids at the carpool line, I heard Ricky Martin’s Living La Vida Loca blaring from Travis’ iPod (he inherited my old one with its complete collection of Ricky, Barry Manilow, and ABBA).  He didn’t get it turned off before I helped him to his walker, so I reached for it to do so and noticed that the Notes app was open to a page entitled “Livin la Vida Loca by Travis”.  I read it and started laughing.

This kid, who confounds his teachers every day, had written down BY MEMORY the lyrics as he heard them to the song.  And because they cracked me up and because this is my blog, I’m sharing them with you verbatim.

(And if you need a refresher to the real lyrics, here’s Ricky’s version.)

Season Sa Service Dishes, Black Cats and Famous Dogs.

A fail the autograph that girls gonna make me fall.

Season Sa Service New Kits and Sony Cameras,

He’s got a picture for every day and night.

To make you clothes of fund to Dancing in the Rain.

to make of crews of crazy life take away your pain

like a homemade to brain

Come on!

Outside, Inside Out, Livin la Vida Loca

Sharing shampoo your back

Living la Vida Loca

Or live songs ever end

eda skits call la moca!

She well there you out, livin la vida loca.

Whoo!  All right!

Woke up the New York City!  In a funky Dance Hotel.

He took your wallet and he took your money,  He must asleep you, sleeping pill.

He never dreams that want to makes you or of Friendship Pain.

Once you have a taste of honey Mustard, you’ll never be the same.

It’s to make you go in Target, Come on!

Outside, Inside out!

Livin la Vida Loca.

Regardless of what those teachers said, somehow, I think everything’s going to be okay.

Have a nice day.


27 responses to “Livin’ la Vida Loca – With apologies to Ricky Martin

  1. One day at a time Mrs. Scates. God has a plan. I know you know. Being a momma is hard. When he’s the next Bill Gates, you can look back on this day and sing Ricky Martin!

  2. Travis will be laughing himself all the way to the bank. I’m convinced he is the smartest kid I’ve ever met.

    One day I hope to hire him to hack my IT projects during our testing phase.

  3. That is absolutely fantastic. What a neat kid. I’ve only met Travis once, but his joie de vive captivated me immediately. Love it and love you. Hang in there, momma! You’re doing a great job of loving and teaching your boys well.

    TGIF, right?

  4. He’s so smart! Honey mustard would TOTALLY make me go in to Target! To buy more, obviously. Seriously, this shows amazing creativity. Who needs fractions??!??

  5. Wow, He even got the subliminal target message Ricky put in there….hehe…smart boy! love ya’ll

  6. Amen to Target!

    Maybe Travis & Ricky can do a little collaboration. 😉

    As a teacher, I almost had to leave an IEP once because I was about to break down in tears. It is never our joy to tell parents the hardest things to hear, but we have to be honest. Good thing they are only once a year, right?

  7. Coming from a music teacher…the right brain trumps the left brain in life everytime. Creativity and thinking outside the box makes someone an asset to society…not knowing fractions. This I am sure of.

    And thank goodness someone figured out what the heck Ricky Martin was saying…I sure couldn’t.

  8. Yay for Travis! And yay for you Susan….you are an awesome mom!

  9. Bringing smiles and a happy Friday to internet users worldwide? That’s outstanding, and all part of a greater plan! Much better than fractions, that’s for sure. Thanks so much for sharing, totally made my day 🙂

  10. Oh, sweetheart. Travis is amazing. And it is a reflection of the mother he has. Who needs fractions, indeed. He will still live a long, wonderful life. Bless you all!

  11. You have an amazing kid. Well, actually I think you have three of them. Hang in there, Mom. Our kids are so much more resilient than we think. And we are too.

  12. This brought tears to my ears and cheek-splitting grin. I love his mention of Target. Precious stuff here, lady. Your friends above have all the encouragement, so let me just shout and “AMEN!” to all they’ve said.

    Funny thing: I’m reading this just after hitting Kellie’s “You’re Gonna Make it After All” post. The theme song reverberates throughout. It’s quite fitting for both posts, you know? 😉

  13. My favorite “Travis is smarter than all of us” moment: Many moons ago (when the boys were about 5), MrCPQ and I were at your house, finishing up breakfast with the boys. Travis was just about finished when he started banging his spoon on the top of the counter (keeping the beat with a song). Mr CPQ asked him to stop several times, finally resorting to “Travis, if you don’t stop banging on the top of the counter, you’re going to be in trouble.”. Travis stopped, slowly moved his spoon to his lap, and then started banging again…

    … on the bottom of the counter, thus, technically at least, following MrCPQ’s command.

    That was the point at which I knew I could party with the T-man.

  14. I’ve sat in many IEP meetings. I would like to think they found something positive to say in the midst of all your hard news.

    It takes all kinds to make the world go round. How boring life would be if we were all the same. You are right-it will be okay.


  15. Too funny! And God has a plan. right!!

  16. Fractions are for losers.
    Fractions make you weak.

    It’s all about cracking the firewalls of life…and your sweet boy, T, is well on his way….

    I know this because Jesus loves does his momma and daddy and his ‘livin’ la vida loca’ peeps in bloggy world.

  17. Living la vida Target is a T-shirt I would buy.

  18. Ah what a creative spirit! And really that’s what the world needs more of! I remember those IEP meetings (our son is now 22) and while they were sometimes difficult, it was nice when they would focus on his strengths too. You know your kids’ strengths better than anyone. Help him find the wings he needs to let those strengths fly and all will be ok.

    PS – love the line: Sharing shampoo your back. I laughed out loud.

  19. I love his lyrics! There’s a LOT to be said for creative genius in this post. I think Travis is a-okay, Sus. Don’t sweat the small stuff!!!!

    Now…off to book a reservation at a Funky Dance hotel in NYC. 🙂

  20. Tell those teachers its their jobs to get him there “On Travis’s schedule”, not their schedule, HIS! But he will get there.

    I have a near dead Dell sitting on the floor here….can he hack thru the virus and get some of my stuff back?

  21. I have soooooooooo many thoughts on this. So stinkin’ many.

    First, do you know how many kids without IEPs are at a third-grade reading level or struggle with fractions or have difficulty with “why” questions? It’s a lot. Those things do not put him all that far behind his non-disabled peers. In the bottom quartile, most likely. In a corner by himself with a dunce cap, no way. (Not that a kid who is performing way below where Travis is would belong in a corner with a dunce cap! All I’m saying is that if you put all the kids in a 5th grade class on a bell curve of performance, my guess is that Travis would still be on the bell curve and not a discarded outlier. Sadly, teachers get tunnel vision in IEP meetings and focus more on the ideal grade level stuff than the bell curve.)

    Which leads me to my second thought: any ideal grade level point has precious few students on it. And any grade-normed assessment has so many limitations that they should only be considered as *one* tool in discussing any child’s abilities or challenges. Other tools, of course, including self-written lyrics to, er, classics like Living La Vida Loca.

    And, finally, when I pray for Travis, one verse I pray is Phil 1:6, that God who began a good work in him will carry it to completion. God knows that completion point, and it’s based on His perfect will not on any man-designed normed assessments.

    Your boys rock. And so do you.

  22. Is this where I place my Livng La Vida Target t-shirt order?

    I love Ned’s story. I have my own. Those of us who know and love him (the two automatically go together) know that kid is a rock star. I’m just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.

  23. Dear friends –

    Can I tell you all how much I love you and how encouraged I am to know that you all love my kids and are pulling for them? You’ve made my day. I am not one to wallow in the dark places but your words of strength and faith and hope and love have certainly made it easier to walk in the light of hope that God knows the plans He has for ALL of us.

    You are all incredible women and men. I am thankful to be able to call you friends.


  24. A little behind in my “reading” (so I didn’t know to say anything to you about it this AM…) I remember going something similar to this twice with my “boy”: first in 8th grade where a teacher told me she knew WE had done his project for him so she was going to give him an F on it ( I let her know that the only part of it we had done was the use of the power saw, & would she like to let her totally-inexperienced-in-power-tools 13 yr. old use it?), & all the other teachers tore him apart (my quiet, non-confrontational kid…) . I left that day fighting the tears, until I got in my car & bawled my eyes out.
    The 2nd time was senior yr. of HS after having him tested @ NCSU, coming into a conference w/all his teachers & having the guidance counselor share the recommendations from the testing, to which 1 teacher responded, “He’s just lazy.”
    Travis has some amazing skills & like Corey, will one day be used by God in ways that will be unique & benefit others.

  25. I think Travis has a job as senior vp of pr for Target. And I’m so not kidding. And I love you. And really, the only bad thing about those “meetings” is that they try to quantify our children.

    How do you quantify a miracle?

  26. Love that boy.

    Love him.

    And really, I will never forget that afternoon not long ago, sipping coffee and playing with yarn in your family room…with Travis at our feet, when out of the blue he asked,

    “Mom, do you know what is meaningful?”

    You: Tell me T, What is meaningful?

    Travis: God is meaningful.

    (and in the silence that held while we tried not to weep he questioned again,)

    “Mom, do you know what is meaningful?”

    “Tell me Travis,” You said in your ever-calm voice….

    “Travis is meaningful.”

    In that moment we were on hallowed ground and I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

    When you are sitting in an IEP meeting someday in the future you can rest secure…fractions and communication and physical development are good things. But Travis is fully comprehending Truth… in that place there is no delay.


  27. I was just about to click ‘mark all as read’ on my out-of-control-google-reader, but allowed myself one click of your titles.

    I’m so glad I picked this one, because it personifies parenting to the very core. If we keep our eyes on the ‘shortcomings’ we can feel like we’re just going to drown for real. If we keep our eyes open a little wider (or squint a little?), we can see the little nuggets of encouragement that God leaves for us along the way. Thank you so much for reminding me of that all the time.

    I hope you know deep in your heart that God was brilliant when He connected His shining star Travis to His shining star Susan… you compliment each other so well, and it is a blessing to witness your relationship here on your blog. *sniffle*

    ps: You SERIOUSLY have mad steelmagnoliasskillz — the cry, cry, then laugh-til-you-pop storytelling timing. well done.

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