Thursday, August 27, 2009

a soft day at school

Martin had a tough day at school on Tuesday. He cried a few times, but made it until 2pm dismissal. Wednesday was worse. At 12:30, I got a call to come pick him up. He wouldn't (or more likely couldn't) follow the basic class routine and had a series of meltdowns. By the time I picked him up, he was sitting happily in the principal's office. "Did you have a hard day at school," I asked him. "No," he replied. "I had a soft day at school."

Martin's teacher, who has been terrifically understanding, would like him to have a tutor until he's able to navigate the classroom by himself. She thought it would be necessary for only a few weeks. This would be fine with me if we had a tutor available during school hours. Martin's tutor from last year quit a few weeks ago to take a full-time job. His new tutor works with him in the afternoons. She's a college student and can't come to Martin's school during the day. We're calling around looking for temporary help, but haven't found anyone yet. So if Martin is going to school, it looks like I'm taking him.

I'll be perfectly honest and say that I don't feel like stepping up to the parenting plate today. I know it's necessary and that it might even be fun, but I had other plans than spending 5 hours a day at an elementary school today and tomorrow. Yesterday, I turned in a big piece of work. I had a deadline looming and I met it. I was planning to take off today and tomorrow. I wanted to go to the Y, read magazines, maybe cook something. I wanted to futz around.

Sometimes, I am so jealous of the other parents dropping off their kids at school in the morning. They don't have to worry whether their kid understands what the teacher is saying. They can assume that their child can learn a classroom routine. They will never get a call telling them their kid must come home early. I know everyone has problems, but sometimes I feel like Martin's issues are so obvious and public that his problems seem bigger. We cannot go through life in the way we're supposed to in this society. We cannot pretend that everything is OK.


  1. Oh Jen, I'm so sorry. You deserve those 2 days off! I hope you get them soon, if not today/tomorrow. May you find a tutor quickly!

  2. Jen,

    Ever since a friend led me to your blog, I've been following it with great interest, and today prompted me to say hi. I am also a GC alum, but I graduated in '92. I knew of your husband, Stacy, was when I was at Goshen. We didn't have many classes together, so he may not remember me.

    I have a son who is on the spectrum as well, and even though our struggles aren't completely identical, there is so much that you've put into words here that resonate with me, especially how it feels so unfair at times. Martin sounds like an extraordinary little boy, and I hope that as the year goes on, he'll learn the classroom routine and eventually not need his tutor. I hope you get some free days to yourself soon.

    Sincerely--a parent in solidarity,

    Melissa Shirk Jantz

  3. Thinking of you and wishing for independent school days for you all.

  4. Someone told me once (in reference to my son)that if you want to have an exceptional child, you have to be willing to have an exceptional child. Sometimes Sam stands out because he's the only one in the room not participating. He is exceptional in so many ways. I try to remember that when I see Sam just not "fitting in" with other kids. It's tough and I only wish we lived closer...I think our boys would be good pals!!!

  5. I am just starting to read your blog. I had to take my little guy to pre-school too. It made me sad at the time that he could not do what the others did so easily, but we made it through and you will too. I'm madderakka on the pd board your husband posted to.