It was right around noon when the phone rang. The caller ID said “MONTGOMERY CNTY” and I could see from the number (having been called from this number before) that it was the principal at Jack’s school. Because Sam was home sick today, I knew it was about Jack.
I mean, I knew anyway, but…
The principal laughed at my suspicious tone and told me everything was fine. I heard Jack in the background. Then the principal laid the hammer down.
The whole thing is kind of lost in a haze of it-just-gets-worse-and-worse, but here are the facts as I pieced them together from that phone call, chatting with the aide after school, and reading the communication notebook:
1. Jack snuck away from the aide at recess, but she caught him.
2. Jack snuck away again from the aide at recess, who had to abandon the other three children under her care to retrieve him.
3. Jack ran up a ramp to the portable classrooms.
4. Jack burst into a 5th grade class.
5. The 5th graders ratted Jack out to the aide.
6. When asked by his relieved aide what he was doing, Jack said, “Hiding.”
Well, all right then.
Both the aide and the principal keep telling me over and over again that they really like Jack. I think they’re aware that I’m about three steps away from losing my shit entirely.
And, there is the possibility that, in fact, they really do like Jack. Frankly, I think the principal may have spent more time with Jack in the past five days than I spent with my elementary school principal in six years of schooling. So I guess he’s had some time to get to know him. And Jack is a likable little dude.
On the plus side, this morning Jack tried to help one of the kids in his class who was crying because he missed his mom. Apparently the kid was sad, so Jack tried to make him feel better by sharing the ice pack he was using—the ice pack the teachers gave to Jack after he tried to staple his hand this morning.
Silver linings, right?
But here’s something good: last year when Sam started kindergarten, I felt like I had no idea what happened while he was at school. He would come home and refuse to answer my questions about what he did and all I’d be able to pull out of him was that they had Oreos for snack.
Turns out that if you have a special education kid, you get a communication notebook that gets sent home each day. In such a book, you’ll get information like, “Your son tried to staple his hand but then used his first aid supplies to try to cheer up a classmate.”
Or, “Jack put a push pin in his mouth.”
Or, “Jack kept leaning back in his chair and tipping over.”
Or…well, you get the point.
There are also some lovely things in there about Jack, because he is, in fact, a lovely child. But he is a lovely child that clearly needs more support than he is getting. In fact, the entire staff at his school seems to be trying to lobby the county for more services for him. (I believe the communication notebook is part of that lobbying effort. Hence the detailed reports of What Has Gone Wrong.) Maybe I’m naive, but until shown otherwise, I will remain vigilant, yet trust in their help. They seem like good people.
I’m feeling a little vindicated that I was right about Jack needing a lot of support. I’m so heart-wrenchingly sorry that Jack is having a hard time, but guess what?
I fucking told them so.
Laugh or cry, people. Laugh or cry.