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  Well it has finally happened; ‘Buddy’ has gone to school by himself. There are so many moments in my life that are typical plus. What exactly does that mean, ‘typical plus’? It means that every parent frets about someone else watching their precious child. Every parent worries that something bad might happen. Or even something good, that it will go great and they won’t need us quite as much as before. Every parent secretly looks forward to not being responsible, for just a little while. To have a cup of coffee or tea in a quiet house with the sure knowledge you will not be interrupted for feedings, diapers or owies. All these things I know are typical. Here is the plus.

When I send my son off to school I have to worry if someone will be distracted for a moment and feed him something not on his diet, something that will make him seize for months, something that will put us in the hospital for weeks, or worse.

When I send him off to school I know he is in good hands (I am lucky in that regard). He has caring teachers who really get kids with special needs. But these women have an incredible burden. I have taught preschool and it is very challenging. These women are preschool teachers, therapists, nurses, dieticians. Yes, they have people who officially have those titles helping them, but they have to know enough to know when to call in help. They have to know enough to oversee the waiting periods. To keep these kids interested and challenged amidst all their various and plentiful health and development challenges. I have managed to do all this for one child, but they have to do it with 6, and they have my undying admiration for that. Still I worry that some crisis will happen in the room, and as wonderful as they are … I don’t really want to finish that thought.

When I send my son off to school I have to worry about his communication. He cannot talk or sign (much). ‘Buddy’ has opinions. He is determined and strong minded. It does not work to battle him. It is best to work with him. I am able to do that because I know him so well. He is potty training himself in part because I know the subtle grunt that means he has to go. Will they hear that? Will potty training revert? He is a happy boy because he is able to tell me with subtle cues and expressions that he is tired, hungry, in pain. Will they know what he means? Will he get sullen, or angry if frustration becomes a common thread of his day? Will he get bored and check out? Already he is not eating solids because I, who know him best, thought I could make him eat. He won that battle…for now.

I really just wish he could tell people what he needs. I wish he could move well enough to get out of the way, or protect himself from the everyday struggles of preschool social life. I wish I could put a protective bubble around him, and that brings us back to the typical. Every parent wishes they could do this. I guess I will just have to let him go out into the world. I will just have to do my best to use this time to restore my energy so that I am better prepared to support him when he comes home.

And now, where is that cup of tea?



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