Lots of little things have been going on in recent weeks. School let out. Sweet Pea has attended birthday parties and done well at them. Things with the babysitter are going well. On a personal level, my father is not doing well and I am not sure how much longer I will have him. And then there is the cruise in July that I should be looking forward to but am dreading. I have plenty to write about, just no time. I’ll start with the end of Kindergarten. I’ll try to take up the other topics in the coming days.
Kindergarten began with a scream (or rather, knockdown, drag out tantrums that resulted in overturned furniture and bite marks) but ended calmly. He did good at all the farewell festivities. No one has been bit for months now (I can’t recall – since Christmas?), and it’s been awhile since he punched anyone in the stomach for “bothering him.” He has attended two birthday parties in the last 2 months, one a month before school let out and one two weeks after, and did well at both of them. These parties were for the two other boys in his class who have “issues,” Jack and Christian. They live in the same neighborhood as each other, which is a few miles and a whole different world away from our own neighborhood.
My neighborhood is not shabby. It has nice houses on large lots. Some are two storied houses, most are one, but they are pleasant and attractive. We have lots of trees and a duck pond and a playground. There are worse places to live. And there are far better ones, I've discovered, just a few short miles away.
Seeing the houses in the gated subdivision these children live in helped me understand why my son’s school is able to fund the outstanding special education program they have been able to provide: there is a very good tax base in some of these gated subdivisions that I had previously only seen from the outside of the gate. The lots each of these houses were on would hold half a dozen houses in most subdivisions. The houses were beautiful. When I put my purse down next to the purses of the other moms, it became very obvious to me that I bought my purse at Target and it looks like it came from Target, too. I don’t know where their bags came from because I am not a fashion junkie, but they looked very expensive and well-made next to my $26 bag. I've got to start shopping the sales at better stores.
No wonder these families could afford to pay a specialist out of pocket to get autism spectrum diagnoses for their sons, whereas the not-so-impressive expert I could see for a $30 co pay told me my child is just plain nuts. Okay, so she didn’t use the words “nuts,” she just recommended we try anti-psychotic drugs (which are used to treat people who are mentally ill).
Christian’s diagnosis is PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified). I can see his autism pretty clearly. His eyes tend to focus on the whole room at once, and because he sees everything he may as well see nothing. He has trouble moderating the sound of his voice due to auditory processing issues. He is noticeably different than his peers.
Jack’s diagnosis is Asperger’s Syndrome, and his behaviors are almost an exact parallel to Sweet Pea’s. Talking to Jack’s mother, I was astounded at how much our sons have in common, with two big exceptions: Jack does not have Sweet Pea’s “rule rigidity,” where everything must be just so or else there is going to be major freakoutage, and Jack forms attachments to other children whereas Sweet Pea does not. My son is a little island unto himself; he likes to be where other children are playing, but he usally doesn't want to play with them. On the occasion when he does, he comes on a bit too strong and gets angry if they reject him. Jack likes Sweet Pea and talks about him at home all the time (I guess he is drawn to this kindred spirit so like himself). Sweet Pea, on the other hand, claims to have friends but rarely talks about another child by name. He does not form bonds with other children. When other kids solicit him for friendship and play, he does not seem to read their signals.Jack freaks him out, because Jack “does things he shouldn’t.” Jack screams and runs around the room and doesn’t sit still at circle time – in short, he acts like Sweet Pea. Apparently my son is the sort of guy who does not want to belong to any club that would accept him as a member.
Jack and Sweet Pea are supposed to have the same first grade teacher next year. I hope that Sweet Pea will eventually accept the friendship that Jack is offering him. I think it would do them both a lot of good. It would do me some good to see him form a bond with another child, too. It would nice if that child, like Jack, has a mother that can accept my son's behaviors with a shrug because her child does the same thing. What a relief it was to be at the homes of such mothers, even if their purses were a lot nicer than my own.