A family's story

It’s Not Fair

Chances are, if you have a child in elementary school, you’ve heard this refrain more than you’d like to admit. Currently, it’s in the Top 10 Phrases Used at the Hope Household. Jake uses it. Often. Appropriately. Annoyingly. Tate has used it once or twice.

After the week we had, I want to use it, too. Now, as a full-fledged adult, I am well aware that life is not fair. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to grumble about it now and then…

On Wednesday, Jake had lacrosse practice and then had to work his bakesale. The bakesale was held during his school’s open house. I pulled him from practice early so that he could work. We arrived to mass chaos at the bakesale/book fair/open house. (Now you know why Jake and I were the only 2 from our family to go.)

Hubz had to miss out on Jake’s excitement. His pride in showing off his work in his classroom. His mad skills at the bakesale. (A future salesman, perhaps.) His happiness as he participated with his peers and friends in a very typical right of passage. It’s not fair!

On Thursday, it was Tate’s turn for Open House. Jake had practice, so Hubz stayed at the park with Cole, while I took Tate to his school. He was all out of sorts.
I-I-I need Ms. J to take me to school on the bus. No school, Mommy. I explained, again, that we were going to say hi to his teacher and see his artwork, and then we’d go home.
Noooo. I don’t think so. I stay here, Mommy. (Here was the car. I tried to explain that the rules say he can’t stay in the car by himself. Luckily, since rules are the end-all-be-all,he came with me.)

We walked into the school. His ears turned bright red. We walked down the hall towards his classroom, and he tried to elope. I persuaded him to come with me. We got to his classroom and he planted his feet firmly on the ground. He would not budge. I started to deflate. He couldn’t handle this. Still. Sigh.

We agreed that he’d sit by his locker while I went into the classroom. His teacher talked about how much he has improved, showed me his journals, and we talked about his prowess with the iPad. He’s teaching his teacher and aides how to use it! She went to check on him while I looked at his artwork and listened (as my heart broke into several pieces) to the other students proudly showing their parents all of their masterpieces. It’s not fair!

Other children can tolerate the out-of-routine visit to the school. But not my son. It was painful for him to be there. At night. School is closed at night, Mommy. It is…but it isn’t always. Next time maybe a social story will help. Maybe it won’t. Just stinks that Tate was too disregulated to enjoy it. (Once we were in the car, he was a different kid…proudly showing me his letters, numbers, and words in his journals.)

Last night was Friday. Jake’s school was hosting Springo-Bingo…a family bingo night/fundraiser. It’s loud. It’s hot. It’s overcrowded. It’s at school–at night. Needless to say, we didn’t go. I did offer to take Jake, but he decided to stay home and watch a movie with his brothers. It’s not fair! I wish we could participate as a family. We. Just. Can’t.

To top it off, Tate had a major meltdown last night. He wanted to vacuum, but I was on the phone. Then he insisted upon garbage on the fan. Ugh. For months, now, Tate has asked us for garbage on the fan. We. Have. NO. IDEA. What. That. Means. None. Zip. Zero. I went through my usual attempts to guess. I was stumped. My sister, C, had stopped by, too. That change in routine was also too much.

The Leap Frog letters on the fridge whizzed past me. Tate was shouting. Crying. Pleading. Garbage on the fan?! No, Mommy, no! Here comes an “M”. Then an “A”. Then a “T”. Seriously. Then random letters came and pelted me in the back. I was trying to ignore it…per our ABA team. My sister was getting anxious. I was ready to cry.

That’s enough! I took Tate into the living room. We sat in the oversized chair. I hugged him. Squeezed him. Whispered softly in his ear. The anxiety plummeted. He relaxed. He melted into me. He whispered. Please, I watch Umizoomi? Yes…and so, he went into the family room and watched his show.

It’s not fair….even a simple visit from my sister is not simple.

Today, Saturday, it is raining. Cold. Feels like early March. We are inside. Tate is enjoying himself. He’s playing with the tablet…watching Imagination Movers and Playdoh commercials. He’s playing–a little–with Cole. They are content. So, well, this seems fair. I’m going to enjoy it.

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Comments on: "It’s Not Fair" (1)

  1. Oh Lisa! You are breaking my heart for both you and Tate. Only because I know exactly how you feel. What really got me was the “garbage on the fan”. Toots is sooo much like this! There is some association they have wired between two things and it upsets them. With T, it has become less a mystery with time and age but just last night he was associating Kai-Lan from Nick Jr with an old ABA tutor and shouting them out together. I can see it upsets him and that it is not something he wants to do but he is compelled to do it. It’s like he wants to work through the wrong wiring and is highly agitated – maybe this is what Tate is doing as well.

    As for the school thing, I think you are right. A social story will go a long way to help together with baby steps, like read it every day for a week and prep him to go to school on off hours. Then have a timer and stay like 60 seconds. Fill him with positive reinforcement praise & m&ms usually work for Toots and before you know it, he will break through.

    You’re right. It’s not fair – but we do break through. We always just have to keep going and ignore that voice. It will fight your efforts – replace it with “we can do this!” and you will get there in no time! (((hugs)))

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