Friday, August 10, 2012

NeW sChoOl, NeW TeAcheR, nEw ScHeDuLe

A train in Tombstone.
Cowboy Max

Last weekend we went to St. David for my nephew Matthew's wedding. Max loved playing with his favorite cousin Sammy who is a couple of years younger. Max always talks about Sammy even though they may only see each other once a year.
After the reception we drove to Tombstone and walked the wooded sidewalks that hugged the famous old buildings. Max found a mood ring for sale in one of the stores. He didn't ask me to buy it; he never has been a child who begs for stuff. During the last two vacations, we let the kids get a ring as a token to bring home. I thought since we didn't take a vacation this summer why not buy him one.  You should have seen the smile that spread between Max's ears as I told him he could pick one.
On our way home Max looked at the ring to see the color and then he looked at the card to find out what mood it was saying he was in. He was so happy each time the color turned royal blue and validated that he was normal. He would look at the ring and then at the card. "Oh, I'm normal."
Max on his first day of junior high
Junior High tiptoed into Max's life quicker than I think he thought it would. It came out of nowhere. Sneaking in, it gave him a new world that I think he likes, but he is having a hard time coping. He is surviving the change, and it's a positive change. The new environment made him feel like he has began to feel more typical. I wonder if deep inside he wants to be normal like all twelve year olds. But after going to meet the teacher  on Tuesday and observing how different his self contained class looked from what a typical junior high classroom, I had to fight back my tears as it hit me that my Magnificent Max is not typical. He loved the room! Five desks placed perfectly in a semi-circle and around the teacher's desk. His name placed in the upper right hand corner of the desk, like I remembered seeing when my other children started kindergarten. A string with a bead attached to a paper with numbers one through five was taped to the upper left hand corner. I knew then my son needed added resources to help him share how he feels emotionally by moving the bead to the number to tell the teacher if he was happy or sad.
The child psychologist guided us into the joining room and spoke with enthusiasm.

"This is where Max will learn life skills."
 My jaw dropped as I scanned the room and I couldn't believe right in front of me was a full size washer, dryer, refrigerator, microwave, stove, oven and dish washer.

Next we toured the cafeteria, library, and then we visited with the orchestra teacher. It warmed my heart when the teacher told us that the principal gave an okay for Max 
to be in orchestra. As we journeyed home from our hour and a half voyage around campus, Max seemed quiet and that isn't the norm for Max.
Yesterday I picked Max up from school about twenty minutes before school got out, because he missed his allergy shot the day before, because the bus dropped him off at five.

Max waved his arms as he spoke. "Mom why did you have to pick me up?"
I gently pushed him to walk with me. "Because you need an allergy shot."

Max stopped me. "Why couldn't you pick me up tomorrow?"

I looked down and noticed I must have left Max's water bottle on the counter in the school office. "We need to go back to the office and get your water bottle."

Max followed me and continue to talk. "Why did you pick me up today?" 

I walked about two feet in front of was scorching 113 degrees and I knew he would want water. "I told you that you need to get a shot. Are you upset that I didn't give you warning that I was coming?"

"What does warning mean? Why didn't you come tomorrow and not today?"

Once we were buckled and driving out of the parking lot. "Did you want to know ahead of time that I was coming to get you?" 

Max opened up his water bottle and took a drink before he spoke. "What does "ahead of a time" mean?"

By this time, I was unsure what else I could say to him. "I know you like to be told what is happening next and maybe you are upset because I didn't tell you earlier."

Max taped my arm. "Mom, this teacher makes me feel respected. I wanted you to come get me tomorrow. If I treat her with respect, she will treat me with respect."

"I'm happy you like your teacher. Yes, respect is important and it can make you feel good inside. Max you are in the car and we are going to get your allergy shot. If I came tomorrow it would be a waste of gas."

"Mom you can always go get more why did you pick me up?"

 For fifteen minutes the same question was asked. When we entered the doctor's office and Max noticed the sign that said; "Closed after 11:30 tomorrow".

Max pointed at the sign. "I now know why you picked me up today."

Finally after his shot, going to Albertsons, Costco, and then home to put the milk away. We left again for speech therapy. He was tickled that he could share his pictures, that we got from Costco, with his therapist. On our way home from speech Max talked about how much he missed his brother Malachi and he wanted to go home to be with him.

Within seconds after I turned off the car Max dashed to the house to greet his older brother Malachi.

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