I'm baking chocolate chip cookies right now. Yes, the homemade kind. We're leaving on our annual family trip to Mexico tomorrow. You might have heard about it here and here.
While beating that cookie dough senseless, I had a chance to think. That's what baking does - it helps me think. I was thinking about some of the really pointed responses I got from mentioning what happened at school in the last blog. I didn't get an influx of commentary on the subject, on the blog, online, or in person, but what I did get was so exactly what I needed to sort out these new found thoughts and feelings.
To offer more explanation, first off I want to reiterate that Christian had a wonderful school year. I never once felt he didn't belong and I always felt there was a place for him there where he was wanted and included.
His last week of school was a busy one and it seemed as though we kept finding ourselves leaving school in the middle of lunch rush where there are well formed lines of children in each classroom zig zagging their way back to class after lunch. During this time I usually have Lola on my hip while I'm trying to push Christian through the school courtyard, the office, loaded into the van and back home for lunch.
But the last week was different. I noticed on not one, but three occasions with three different students that they were laughing at Christian and pointing. They were all children in about the first or second grade. At first I thought maybe I was mistaken. Surely they were not doing what I think they were doing. But then it happened again. And again.
To say I was heartbroken would not be completely accurate. I was devastated.
I guess it's a right of passage, you know. Kids get teased in school. That's what happens. Not many escape unscathed by the teasing and/or bullying of schoolyard classmates and bullies. But I just thought Christian was exempt. A few times people have asked if Christian has been teased and I almost scoffed at them.
Absolutely not! - I thought. Why would anybody ever tease Christian, of all people? Christian is so helpless and can't defend himself. Who would do that? What kind of a person would...
A first or second grader who doesn't understand what they see. That's who.
And I guess I let my devastation get to me because I didn't know what to do. I didn't have the answer. I mean my insides wanted to get down right abusive. Obviously, that's not appropriate. And the kids were moving so fast, it was chaotic. Should I have stopped the entire class and made it a teaching moment? I didn't know what to do.
Then another mom gave me the answer. She told me it wasn't my job to teach them. My first job was to stand up for my son and give him a voice. She told me some other really smart things to do, too, so now I feel a little more equipped and a little more confident. Dammit, I can stand up to any old doctor and advocate for Christian with one hand tied behind my back. But when it came to a gradeschooler, I had no bag of tricks. At least now I have some idea of how to address the situation if and when it happens again.
I was talking to Christian's PT about the whole situation and I'm paraphrasing but she was talking about how inclusion programs are wonderful and so helpful in educating students, teachers, parents, everyone involved. But it would be so great to just have a school where nobody knows the difference, the kids don't know they're different and they're all just...awesome.
It would be great. She's awesome, by the way.
So tomorrow we're going to Mexico where the ocean knows know differences. We'll eat homemade chocolate chip cookies - Christian will take his blended - and we'll just be...awesome.
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