Rainy Sunday Together
Not much to report from Sunday except that—despite the previous day's bike accident, despite more school district shenanigans than you can shake a stick at (not only did we get a stack of Incident Reports over a week after the fact but I came across the words "four-man protective hold"*[see comment]–yes I have some emails to write and phone calls to make), despite rain almost all day so there was a lot of hanging around the house with Charlie who'd woken up at 6.30am and put on his swimsuit thinking of kayaking—despite all this, Sunday was a peaceful-easy feeling kind of day.
Early morning bagel run. Working on Charlie's typing to watch YouTube videos. "Swim-gym" at the YMCA (Jim goes to workout in the fitness room while Charlie and I swim, only it seems Charlie is outgrowing the pool and is not too interested in being there). Visit to Jim's mom ("Grandma, see Grandma," Charlie reminded us) in the nursing home. Early Vietnamese meal (the waiter/chef is getting to know us and quickly brought out some summer rolls for Charlie who was quite ready for wait as long as he had to). Back home with the clouds parting to reveal blue sky and Charlie donning his bike helmet and going to get out his and Jim's bikes. Charlie hopping straight into the car and wanting to go out "to eat" and looking very consternated when I pointed out that he'd had a generous meal in the quite recent past. Charlie. I followed this up by noting that I was going in to make some rice and that there were also frozen fries in the freezer.
Charlie sat in the car for a good half-hour before coming out and announcing to Jim and me that he wanted "bedtime." He went off to bed and then got up for a shower. And then to sleep, after asking me to spread out his old (no longer soft) blue fleece blanket on his bed.
Charlie is 12 years old, and 5 feet, 7 inches. He is the youngest in his class, and the tallest, and, as he's been with the same group of boys for the past three years, he's been in the awkward state of being simultaneously younger and bigger than his classmates for some time. Last fall when he started middle school (in 2008), there was a lot of emphasis on how he and the other students would no longer be "coddled" and how middle school was all preparation for high school, vocational training, and the real world. Of course we know that this is all necessary, that Charlie won't be a child forever.
But as I reflect on his very difficult past year in school (and I've had too much reason to reflect), I have to wonder, if too much was expected of him too fast last year; if the expectation that he could keep up with classmates who are, in some cases, two years older than him, was part of his undoing. Of course Charlie is growing up and needs to learn to be more independent and not be "babied."
But how often have you heard the expression "if you've met one autistic child or individual, you've met one autistic child or individual"? I'm just suspecting, that principle wasn't, hasn't been applied to Charlie in school last year and so far in this one. And no wonder, when Charlie has not seemed able to fit in with the mold, with the protocol. the results have been far from peaceful and not easy for anyone.