Friday, January 18, 2008

Brave new world

I thought I would reflect on the last two weeks since they were the first two weeks of Daniel being in his new school. I was so nervous the first day....not because I was worried about him, but because I felt like I had no clue what the unspoken and spoken 'rules' were for this new society we were entering. And it is a new society...I couldn't figure out why I was so nervous at first, but I soon realized it was because everything felt foreign and new to me. I've done the whole 'school' thing with Lainey twice. Sure it was pre-school, but Daniel is 2, so could this be more complicated? Oh, yes, it could. But after a while, I realized that complicated is a good thing.

First of all, we were supposed to have a 'meet the teacher, see the classroom' meeting on the Friday before classes started. That didn't happen because when we pulled up to the parking lot, Daniel proceeded to throw up all over himself (and he doesn't EVER throw-up). Instead of seeing this as a bad sign, I breathed a sigh of relief.

And being the overly analytical person that I am, I immediately questioned why I was relieved. Wouldn't most parents in my situation mourn the fact that they didn't get that important meeting to talk to the teacher, see the room, and meet the other parents of the children in Daniel's class? Hadn't I been saying that I really needed to meet some parents of other children in Daniel's situation? Hadn't I planned to go to support meetings several times and not made it? Didn't I start to drive to that one meeting a month ago and turn around because it was too far and I was tired?!? You friends who are wiser are catching on much faster than I did.....but more about that later. (yes, this is going to be a long one, I can already tell. Go deal with family members and such before continuing).

So, I told the staff, hey, my son is in the car with vomit all over him, I gotta go. The director said, "oh, but could one of the parents watch him or something so you could go in?" I looked at her as if she were insane. "I think he has a stomach virus....he NEVER throws up!" (I didn't add my next thought which was, 'what kind of school director are you to invite stomach virus germs into your school?' To which she would have answered, 'A school director for children with autism..that is what kind...').

So, his teacher called me that afternoon and we discussed the first day of school. And it turned out to be way more complicated than I could have ever imagined. I thought we could just come a little early and let Daniel see his class and meet his teacher and then I could sneak out. Oh no. Not in this country. =It must be discussed and examined as to what would be the best for Daniel...would it be upsetting to him to NOT be gotten out of the car in the car pool line just like every other day he will have there? Or would it be more traumatic for him to be jerked out of his carseat by a complete stranger? Hell if I know, was all I wanted to say...but didn't. (In hindsight I can always think of better things to say).

After a few phone calls back and forth, we worked out the details. You will be happy to know at this point, that Daniel's first day had some trauma (which was expected) but overall was OK. And that his second day and every day after have been heaven. All my reservations about anything whatsoever flew out the window. If I decide to believe them, they even have Daniel saying sentences this week. I will believe it when I hear it with my own ears, but I certainly can see a change in him...and I saw it after just a few days...Praise be to God!

But, God still had a lot of work to do on mommy. She wasn't getting off that easily...pull up to school, have someone pull Daniel out of the car, and then have someone put him back in at the end of the day. The only person I would ever need to interact with was his teacher....I mean, who cared if I didn't know the other kids names...there were only 3 of them in his class, anyway. You know what is coming...

On Wednesday of his first week, I actually had a couple of hours in between dropping him off and picking up Lainey. I decided this would be the perfect day to go into the office and write his tuition check. I walked in and there was one other woman standing by the door and two women sitting in chairs talking about fundraisers. The receptionist was on the phone. I stood there for a minute and decided to walk outside and see if I could find the 'observation window' to Daniel's classroom that I was too scared to ask about. I walked around the corner, and had a panicky feeling. I decided to walk back to my car and go home and call later about the I rounded the corner, I saw the receptionist talking to someone who had just pulled up and asking her if she, "saw someone walking this way?". I thought, oh my goodness, is there a predator around? Oh no, she was looking for me. Unbeknownst to me (but beknownst to God) there was a 'java' meeting right at that moment..which was for moms of children at the school and especially 'new' moms. I quickly put two and two together and when I walked back in the two moms in the chairs asked me if I was coming in. I told them I had some errands and saw the knowing look on their faces and said, "but I can come in for a little while." What happened in the meeting wasn't earth shattering...but i realized that I am terrified. I am terrified of entering this world. It is a world that only people in it can understand. But mostly it is a world where once you enter, you can never say you weren't a part of it. My friends, I am a mom of a child with autism. He attends Westview school and I should put an autism awareness bumper sticker on my car. I might not be into the 'GFCF diet' or any of the other autism code words, but it doesn't change the fact that my child belongs in that world, and he is daily becoming a better person because of his involvement there.

He is not cured and neither am I. I was relieved this week when Lainey was home sick on Wednesday so I had a great excuse to not attend the 'java' meeting. But if we weren't screwed up about this, we would be screwed up about something else...and hey, at least there is a good school for this :).


Reed's mom said...

wow, thanks for sharing your personal journey of your week with daniel, amanda. so is this not a public school, is it a special education school? i'm not sure where you have him placed. i've only worked in the public school setting, but i know there are some areas that have private schools for children with special needs--so just wondering what type of school this is. gosh, i know it seems to big here in the beginning, but it sounds like you have a great setting with so much support and help. that i know is a blessing! keep me posted! take care.

Wrights said...

I am so glad to hear about what you are going through with Daniel and all the new things with his new school. I have prayed for you a couple of times this week and I will continue to pray for you as you enter the new world of having a little boy with autism and trying to figure out how to best help him. I can't say that I completely understand what you are going through, but I pray for you with a mother's heart. I know what it feels like to want to do what is best for your babies. Hope this week is even better than last.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

You know what sweetheart, the entire time I was reading this, I was thinking how when some people become Christians they just want to become hermits, to cut themselves off from all fellowship, and how that is so wrong, because we are created for fellowship. And how God is obviously NOT going to let you get away with being a hermit. He is sending you support whether you like it or not :)

Will be praying for you and please continue to post so that we can share in the praise as well.
much love