A Happy First Day, a Little Buscapade, & Squeaking Up
Despite not going to sleep till around midnight on Sunday, Charlie's eyes were opened when I said good-bye to him at 6.35am Monday morning. Jim texted me that he was up and dressed in good time and glad to be at school, and that people at school were glad to see him. He had a good day and was happy to see his old classmates and meet some new ones.
There was the inevitable glitch in the form of what I'll call a buscapade. Apparently some communication that should have been made between us and Charlie's case manager (who, as I discovered via said case manager's voicemail back in June, was 'out of the office' until September, i.e., till now, so someone else was Charlie's case manager over the summer—yes, a bit of a bureaucratic wrinkle such as many of you parents and educators and professionals in the special ed world know is, ahem, perhaps not altogether uncommon)—-yes, some communication wasn't communicated, so Jim ended up heading back to the Big Autism Center to pick up Charlie at the end of his first day at school. I immediately called Charlie's (now back in his office) case manager and found out it will be up to a week before Charlie is back on the bus after school. Reviewing all the bus prep we did back in the summer to get Charlie riding the bus home my first thought was:
Argh oh no!
After a little text-and-talk exchange with Jim, and saying to myself, um, Kristina, this isn't exactly catastrophe central, remember where things were a year ago—
—you know, big blue helmet, severe contention with the school district (not the same one that we now live in), living in a rented apartment in the town that had talked about a temporary residential placement for Charlie, etc., etc.—
I said to myself, get real! This is highly, extremely manageable and, if anything, a good wake-up call that one still has to do the squeaky wheel bit from time to time, just to make sure all the pieces are where they should be. As Charlie is now an out-of-district student, there is that extra layer of bureaucracy to coordinate things between the school district and his school, and it's ultimately up to Jim and me to make those connections.
Because, no one else would have bothered with all that bus prep and followed, or attempted to follow, a little yellow school bus hither and yon here and there in New Jersey except for—you know it—us crazy special ed parents.
Actually, I take that back.
However crazy and overly-over-concerned we might appear, doing all that is truly the sanest, even, I'll venture, the wisest thing we can do. At the end of the day, no one else speaks up, or gives a squeak, for our kids as we do. It's just how it is.
And truly, Charlie is a happy boy, secure with his surroundings and with the sense that he has ways to simmer down when the storminess starts. Too, he likes where he is and how things are, and there are people—more than a few—who like him as he is, and understand when those storms flow and ebb.
Charlie asked for two bike rides with Jim after he came home, one in the hot afternoon sun, and the second as dusk was falling, after he and I had had a nice drive round our usual haunts, listening to some Sonny Rollins on WKCR. I'm very hopeful for future peaceable, and peaceful-easy-feeling times this school year.
And if I have to do some squeaking up (and send some friendly phone and email messages the case manager's way), well—this is a bit of a silly end to this post, but I showed my Latin students this palindrome Tuesday and it made for a good laugh in the midst of Grammatical Seriousness (participles + ablative absolute + passive periphrastic were on the lesson plan today), and also Special Ed Seriousness
SUM SUMMUS MUS.
(For translation, click right here.)
I am the mightiest mouse.
I am mighty mouse!
Yeah, and you can be sure that when I need to, I can really roar.