|The badge that Child 2 wore home today. I'm keeping it; I earned it more than he did.|
He's smooth as silk, man; he has no worries (except fire drills, which were mentioned briefly last night and then not again, so far). Since we had met his teacher yesterday, he's all kinds of prepared for 3rd grade. Last night we were discussing the issue and I asked him what he thought of his teacher. His response: "She's very nice. Not like my LAST teacher.... Mr. F." I was giddy with delight at how hilarious that was and this morning I told as many people as I possibly could, including Mr. F who laughed uproariously. Then after picking him up today I asked him how it went and he got a big smile and said "My teacher is really nice." I think he might have a crush on her. That's awesome.
People have been asking me a lot about that whole "pretend to be normal on the yard" thing that I talked about last week, so here's something I said about the subject in an email I sent to a friend that I'm just copying and pasting (easier than trying to formulate new thoughts); perhaps controversial, perhaps no, but these are my thoughts on the subject:
Yes, in theory kids should be taught to be accepting, but in reality the world is a cruel, harsh place and if you're weird or you stand out you're going to get shit for it. Doesn't it make sense to at least implant the idea that if you want to make your life easier you need to learn how to be like everybody else?
I'm not saying I agree with this, at all, actually I think that everybody should be free to let their freak flag fly, but the worrier mom in me is afraid of what's going to happen when he gets to middle school and high school and the kids could potentially fuck him up bad. He's not socially savvy enough to figure this out for himself and he likely never will be, so shouldn't the grownups who care for him teach him to at least pretend to be normal?
This is probably the hardest part about having a kid with autism, my internal conflict between letting him naturally be who he is and how that directly contradicts with societal norms of how kids are "supposed" to be. One day I hope that he is able to make these decisions for himself and I hope that he will be able to accept himself for who he is, but in the meantime it's my job to (try to) prepare him for whatever kind of shit is headed his way.
Also smooth as silk. The past few days I've been afraid to ask him too much about how he was feeling because I didn't want my anxiety to rub off on him so we just haven't been talking about it at all. He's so mellow, though (one of these days I'm going to blog about how much he's like my brother; but not today). This morning, though, while getting shoes on he says "I'm actually a little bit afraid." "Why?" I said. "Because what if I make a mistake?" I suppose I could have asked him "like what?" but I didn't really think the specifics were that important at that point so I just said "then you say 'UH OH! I made a mistake!' and you try again." He seemed satisfied with that answer. And then in the car on the way, I had been so focused on getting pictures I forgot to buckle him up, so we're halfway down the street when he reminds me that he wasn't buckled. A perfect life lesson! See? Mama makes mistakes, too! HA HA! That was the plan all along, as far as you know! Because I'm all about the life lessons, you see.
Going into the classroom, I wasn't allowed in the door so I walked him up the ramp and he hugged me and said "you're going to be standing here waiting for me, right? And then whenever I look out here I'll see you and feel better?" (heart = break) I said no, I wasn't going to stand there all day, just for one minute until he found his seat and stuff. He hugged me, walked in the door, saw a friend from preschool and they were both immediately doing that 5 year old excited loud talking thing "MY LUNCH IS IN MY BACKPACK? AND MY CUBBY HAS MY NAME ON IT? AND MY MOM'S GOING TO PICK ME UP AFTER SCHOOL?...." etc. I wanted to barf, but I didn't.
Later in the day I was in the library helping to put books on the shelf; I was by the back door, which was open, and the door looks directly over the Kindergarten yard and into the door of the classroom he was in, which was also open. I couldn't see him.... but I could hear him. His voice was ringing out across the damn yard, he was obviously playing with something that he was making a dinosaur which was eating something else and possibly having a race. He does that a lot, make things race; but then they take turns winning because he's just that kind of guy. The only information I got out of him about how his day was had to do with the gingerbread cookies he ate (first he ate the arms, and then the legs, and then the head). That's just good stuff, right there.