In perfect Wolfie fashion to begin the school year, the first two days were awesome. Not much to say from him about those two except “Not very many people recognize me” which I took to be some kind of small wish on his part because of his new fascination with his height and weight that he’d grown so much over the short summer that no one knew who he was. I know better now. There are very few kids in his class this year that he has been in class with before and not one of the kids in his class this year is a person that I would say he’s made a connection with. This is what he was saying that first day.
Day three was not so good. He had managed to find the two boys in class who had the least amount of tolerance for him and offered one of them a friendly reminder to use an inside voice, to which the boy responded by calling Wolfie the teacher’s pet. Then in music class the other boy was going for the last big chair and Wolfie wanted to have it because as he says, “I’m much bigger than him and I wanted to trade him the big chair for one of the smaller ones.” Needless to say, the other kid wasn’t going for it and then when Wolfie became upset someone else jumped in and called Wolfie mean.
Out of a classroom of twenty and only being there for three hours, he has managed to find the most intolerant of the students. It’s as if he is a bully magnet. Now, of course, I am not suggesting that Wolfie did nothing to contribute to the situation. I’m sure he absolutely did! He may have lost his temper, he may have given the “friendly reminder” a little too adult-like. One thing I know for sure, and that is he didn’t set out to hurt anyone or make anyone feel bad. He was enforcing the rules because rules are important. More on that subject another time.
There is a bright side. His teacher is awesome and she knew how to respond. Each year Wolfie and I have given a presentation about Asperger’s to his class. This year I was reluctant to ask him to do that because he is having so much trouble making some legitimate friends and he doesn’t need another thing helping him to stick out like a sore thumb. So, his teacher and I decided it would be best for her to have a conversation with the other students in the afternoon while Wolfie was at home for school. This worked out really well.
She used the analogy of having a broken leg and how the students might help another student if he or she were wearing a cast. She talked about how not everyone in the class would have a cast or receive help carrying their books or getting their lunch. Then she went on to point out that having a broken leg is something you can see and so it makes it easy to remember to help because of the visual cue of the cast. Asperger’s doesn’t look like anything. Wolfie looks like a regular boy, but he has needs that are much different from that of most of his peers.
She told me all this when I finally got him up to school at almost 10:00 after a major meltdown about the two incidents with the other boys on Friday, which he apparently stewed about over the weekend. I don’t know why, but every year these meltdowns happen and each year I expect them, but they don’t get any easier for me to handle. It is heartbreaking to see him in so much pain when he is having a meltdown and I am at a total loss for what to do. I want to hold him and hug him tight, but he won’t let me. At least not while he is angry. Eventually, he calms down and we cuddle and hug and talk about his feelings. Those moments when he comes out of the anger and just cries without the kicking and flailing are something really, really special and it is in those moments that I get to do what comes naturally to me as a mother. I get to comfort and soothe and he is willing to let me.
After all that, he had a fine day at school. No trouble to report and we had a great afternoon. We cooked and listened to music. I taught him how to make a peach pie and we finished creating his blog which I will add to my blogroll. Cooking with him is a pretty amusing endeavor. He is very gregarious in all his movements and he has a need to come up with alternate ways of doing things. He definitely enjoys taking the long way. We got to the part in the pie making where it was time to dot the pie with butter. It was like a lightbulb went off in his head while I was explaining how to cut the butter. He snatched the stick of butter off of the cutting board and grabbed the cheese grater and began grating butter onto the pie. At first I was all uptight and trying to get him to stop. He just kept grating away and I saw that this really was a brilliant idea. He was ready to shred all the butter and put it in little ziplock bags for later use “just like cheese. Great invention, huh?” He was very proud of his idea and I was and am very proud of him.