Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Beginning of the End?

I can't believe it's taken me more than a week to write about what happened at my son's school.

Well, it was been a doozy of a week. (Peaches turned four, Spring Break began, my mother flew in from the East Coast, I was sick, I took both kids to the dentist for the first time and found Peaches had two cavities, went to Disney Land, had an egg hunt, and some Schmockity ick hit the fan... )

Still, J and I giving a talk to Rooster's kindergarten class about autism felt monumental.

Just as we'd been following the uplifting and captivating story of MOM-NOS meeting with Bud's sweet and supportive class during lunch, we got word that Rooster had made some enemies among the kindergarteners and their parents. A few moms told their children not to play with our boy, and at least one wanted him out of the classroom.

Fortunately, Roo has a good teacher and an amazing inclusion specialist, both of whom are also lawyers. They made it clear that bullying and discrimination would not be tolerated in the classroom. I asked if perhaps I could come lead some parent education, and the kindergarten teacher through her hands up, telling me she considered it somewhat useless to try to reach the parents. "I gave up on teaching the parents," she said. "Every year one or two of them try to separate their child from others based on race or religion, so if they still do that in this day and age and in this city, I'm just going to focus on teaching the children. With the kids I still have hope. But none of this nonsense happens in the classroom. Rooster is a part of things just fine inside the classroom."

So, we have our work cut out for us.

We still plan to reach out to the parents.

But we started with the students.

It was the day before Spring Break - a Friday - first thing in the morning, and we met with an adorable group of five- and six-year-olds.

I want to tell you all about it, want to include the little speech we'd prepared, share with you some of the cute comments... but the truth is, I've started this post six times in as many days. It began with a sentence amazed it had been three days, then almost a week, then a week, then more than a week...

I think that the drama in kindergarten might have been the start of me unravelling once again. The talk went great, but prepping for it and giving it took a lot out of me, and there wasn't exactly enough of me to start with, if you know what I mean. It feels like it was years ago. Everything just keeps piling on and on and on, and I'm feeling defeated. In May Rooster will turn six. My current project is (supposed to be) planning an amazing birthday party to which I can lure his class. This is not very us-like; it feels like a SHOULD but it's not how we roll. And I'm not really ready to roll anyway. I'm more cranky, miserable, ungrateful, exhausted and blech than usual. So this is not much of post. It's more unravelling....


jess said...

I wrote the same post today, I swear. Hang on, supergirl. Hang on.

redheadmomma said...

I'm so sorry, I just saw this. Have you gotten a little more "you" back since you wrote this? I totally get where you are and how you're feeling. If you're wanting to run away at the thought of a huge birthday party, there are always lots of compromises in that area. For instance, there are lots of places here (like the pump it up places) where it's relatively no stress to have a party - you just pay the (big) fee & they do it all, and you can invite a lot of kiddos, and all give them something to do that will tire them out. Always a winner :)
Hoping you find some peace - and you are awesome for taking on the class. It makes me so mad & sad about the stupid-ass parents who are being, well, stupid asses.

love, R

pixiemama said...


Anonymous said...

Is this really the case that each year there is a child that is singled out by one or more parents and then the parents want the child removed from the classroom? I find that totally appalling! Where is the tolerance for differences?

I can't remember specifics about your Rooster's problems in the classroom. Is he being put in the role of the bully in these parents eyes? How do you counter that? Especially if you don't want to share your child's private diagnosis information...

ghkcole said...

I have to admit, I can appreciate the other parents' concerns in my son's class. They are wrong, of course; my boy is good and sweet, and I know for sure he doesn't want to get so frustrated and loud in class. He is working on it. But those other parents just haven't learned about autism or my Rooster, and some of them it's their oldest or only child in kindergarten... they just hear that my kid snarled at their kid, and they get worried and protective. I hope they'll give me a chance to explain, and that they'll get to know our boy more. But it does totally suck to know people feel this way. And it scares me. And I worry a lot.