Monday, September 20, 2010

Back To School

Last week was CB's Back To School Night.  My husband had a late work function and the only sitter we can use for CB was at the school that night since she works as an aide there.  So, at 6:30 pm I packed all 4 girls in the minivan and headed to the school, not knowing what to expect of the less than ideal circumstances for the evening. 

This story should be a disaster story.  It really should.  First of all, going to the Back To School Open House with a 6, 4, and 2 year old plus severely disabled teen are not the best ingredients for getting the night off on the most ideal foot.  Of course, I got off to a late start so my hour at the school dissolved into only 30 minutes.  Luckily it is an open house forum where you just mill around the classroom and interact with the one teacher and 8 aides.  No formal presentations in the gym as at Pink's school.  No dressing to impress in a nice sweater set, trying to keep up with the proverbial Jones's like at Pink's school.  No formality.  Thank God, or else I would not have been able to go.  I just rolled in like one hot mess with a slew of kids trailing me, clad in an odoriferous T-shirt I probably slept in the night prior and cut off shorts, chipped polish on my toes displayed in dusty flip flops and dirty hair knotted on top of my head.  And, as if you had to guess, no make up.  This would NOT be how I would ever DARE present myself at Pink's school.  No way, no how.  But at CB's school?  They're like family. Who dresses up for family? No need to impress, feel self conscious or judged. It is "come as you are" and everyone is accepted "as is." The kids and the grown-ups alike.

This is some of the gang here, at the Prom last spring.



Back To School Night should have been a disaster. I hustle the girls through the shiny tiled halls and immediately upon entering the new classroom "suite" (complete with work area, common area, private dining area for lunch, private bath, attached vocational room and sensory room... holy mackerel!!) I notice CB's diaper has leaked through her pants.  No problem, her teacher announces.  Of course they have tons of clothes and diapers I always send in.  CB's teacher, Heather, shows me to the class's private bathroom and upon changing CB's diaper I see an unexpected poop so here we are, me, Heather, CB, and three little kids in this narrow little bathroom changing CB in the standing position.  Finally, she's ready for the new diaper but before it is on she pees all over the floor and all over Tink's little sandled feet (who happened to be standing too close).  "CB peed on my foot!" she yells with all the delicateness of a four year old.  Heather helps me clean up with Lysol wipes and I continue getting CB dressed then let Tink and Rella use the toilet. 

Twenty minutes have now passed and we've been in the BATHROOM this entire time!! We're talking about Heather's recent summer wedding like we're two normal people discussing it over a latte in a civilized cafe instead of while I wipe asses and take names.  The sheer hilarity of our very normal discussion over the din of this ridiculous mess makes me burst out in giggles now.  She's asking me "Sooooo, how are things going with you?" and I reply with a smirk "You're lookin' at it!!" and we bust out laughing.  It's just... just... not so bad to go through nutty stuff when someone is right there with you helping and laughing and grounding the situation without pity, judgement, or an air of casual indifference. 

We finally emerge from a 20 minute detailed tour of the bathroom to do a 5 minute sprint tour of the rest of the special "wing" for the students.  I see CB's work station, a little cubicle to minimize visual distraction.  There are standing boards for the students in wheelchairs.  There are colors and PECS symbols on the walls, not anything like you would see in a typical 10th grade classroom.  Speech, O.T. and physical therapists come in and out.  I meet new ones and chat giddily with the older ones who have been with CB for years.  Everyone helps with the girls.  There is a plate of chocolate chip cookies.  Pictures from the prom adorn a bulletin board and there is one of me chasing CB across the putting green, which makes me laugh. 

This is such a different Back To School night than Pink's at her "typical" school. I look forward to both of them, but I have to say that there is something immensely comforting about CB's night. I get home and put them all to bed.  My husband arrives close to 10:00 pm expecting me all burnt out and/or emotional but it was actually a nice night despite all the mayhem which strikes us as both completely odd and totally awesome, just like our lives. 

 


12 comments:

pixiemama said...

It sounds like CB's school is pretty awesome. :)

Carrie Link said...

I love this post! Yes, just like life, odd and awesome! I love this, "It's just... just... not so bad to go through nutty stuff when someone is right there with you helping and laughing and grounding the situation without pity, judgement, or an air of casual indifference."

Claire said...

Love it...totally get it.

Cheryl D. said...

That is so great that you found a school so perfect for your beautiful daughter!

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I just love this post. And that last sentence - sheer perfection. xo

Elizabeth said...

Completely odd and totally awesome. I get that! And while you were describing the whole bathroom scene, I was thinking how I could SO have been in there with you and we would have been yakking away while doing the most outrageous, "normal" stuff.

I love your blog and am very, very jealous of CB's school.

blackknightsbrood said...

Here is why your blog is on my speed dial. I loved this post!!

Alicia D said...

thanks guys :). gotta love a crazy back to school night. one thing about our kids...nothing is EVER boring :)

@elizabeth - oh, i KNOW it! too bad we're on seperate sides of the continent:(

Autism Mom Rising said...

I love you have you extract the meaning and mystery from each day, each moment. Perfection.

rhemashope said...

"completely odd and totally awesome." yes, perfect. thank you. next time i'm stuck in the bathroom with the kids i'll think of you as if you are 'right there with me helping and laughing and grounding the situation...'

i love, love, love that prom picture of CB.

kario said...

Gorgeous! Nothing like being around people who "get it!" So glad this place exists for your daughter and your family!

Mama Deb said...

Thank goodness for those people who CHOOSE to work with our children. What would we do without them?
I can't remember if you've ever said...is CB's school public or private? Sounds fab!

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