Just Children

Today was such a normal day.  We’re back in the routine.

That’s really nice, because last night I dreamed that the school was planning to do surgery on my son.  The school, surgery, on my son.

I said “you are not.”

The secretary said, all syrupy sweet, “oh dear, we’ve already scheduled it and he really does need it.”

More emphatically, I replied “you will not do any surgery on my son!”

But for some reason, I still had to take him there.  😦

In real life?  Um, no.  Wouldn’t take him.

In the dream, all I could do was write on him with sharpie markers.

I lifted his shirt and scribbled “DO NOT perform surgery on my son!” across his stomach, and again on his back and arms.

But the ink was smearing.  I wasn’t sure it would be legible by the time he got there.

Then, you guessed it, the alarm rang and I woke up without resolution to this frightful nightmare.  Hate that.  HATE that.

Before I go all psychoanalytical on myself, I feel it fair to tell you that my husband and I watched 24 and ate nachos right before bed last night.

We were supposed to get to sleep early.  I’ve been sick, the boy has been sick, husband wants to stay well.  Early turn-in, that was our plan.

Instead we opted for torture and melted cheese.  Obviously, not our best decision.

Back to the dream.

I think  closing my eyes on a crappy meal leaves me a lot less creative, energetic and clear-headed.  Nachos make me less of a problem solver.  My defenses are down, so my subconscious dishes out everything it has.  Everything.

On some level, I obviously believe that school is the ultimate subversion of my free will (or my son’s).  Dreaming about it in conjunction with mandated surgery?  Can’t get more invasive than that.  I guess I sometimes (always??) feel like the school controls our lives (or our bodies) without our consent or cooperation.

That’s not good.

This week I have been engaged (albeit not very well) in a Facebook conversation about a six-year-old girl who was handcuffed and taken to an adult mental health facility after her tantrum became difficult to handle by school officials.  I don’t know all of the details.  I doubt anyone does, but my heart goes out to her family because I’ve been through those tantrums with my son.

Last year, we moved him to a new school.  (Have I mentioned this before??)  The staff didn’t know how to communicate with him.  He spent several weeks agitated and confused about what was expected.

The teacher and aides were unfamiliar and the other children didn’t understand why he didn’t talk and do as they did.  His tantrums were extreme.  He scared them.

He threw whatever he could reach.  He shoved the furniture and he screamed.  He hit an older boy and once pushed a little girl so hard she toppled over a desk and began crying and screaming herself.  It was bad.  And sadly, I think it all could have been prevented.  No one at the school had enough training to teach my son and most of them talked right over my recommendations.

My son hated the place.  I did too.  And the minute they mentioned the words “potential lawsuit,” we moved him back to the old location and discovered the grass there wasn’t quite as brown as we had thought.  We got lucky.  Again.

I guess what I’m getting at here is that I have spent the last few days examining my feelings about my son’s education and how best to accelerate and enhance it.

Blabbing on that Facebook thread made me realize that I feel burdened by public education as much as I feel grateful for it.

The friend who posted the link just wanted to know why a six-year-old is even in school.  Despite all of my comments on his page, I realize I can’t answer his question.  I’m not always sure that I know why my own kid goes everyday.

Right now he gets more from it than I can give him at home, but I won’t sell myself short.  That may not always be the case.

Someday, if you ask me how my son is doing in school, I might tell you that he doesn’t go to one, but in the same breath I will explain why his education is even better without it.  Until I can do that, he will go.

And I’ll try not to imagine scalpels in the pencil cups.

A few weeks ago I posted a link about Zakh Price, an autistic eleven year old who has been charged with felony battery.  His circumstances are not so different from those I’ve described in my son’s life.  Time is running out for Zakh.  He needs help as soon as anyone can give it.  I implore you to read about him and do whatever you can.  Here is a link to an essay by blogger Shannon Des Roches Rosa, a far more learned and eloquent writer than I.

Happy Tuesday!


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