It seems like we were just out in the wilderness with Hippie School, doing important things like licking slugs, but today it’s time to go do it again. (I am hoping we’re exploring a slug-free zone, today.)
The last time I wrote about going on one of these adventures with Hippie School, Chickadee was freshly home from the hospital, and I was sure we were finally coming out the end of a long, dark tunnel. It was the beginning of Better; it had to be.
I guess I can’t say it’s NOT Better. Frankly, hot sauce to the eyeballs is probably better than having a kid in the hospital. So yes, sure, it’s better. I guess I just wish it was MORE better. I wish it was ALL better. I’m ready for the times when we can say, “Remember when you were sick and everything sucked? And see how great it is that you aren’t, anymore?” That time will come, I think. It’s just taking its sweet time arriving.
In the meantime, we celebrate every pound gained. We travel the Open And Say Ah circuit—a team of doctors, each of whom assures us that we’re in good hands—we send her to school as much as possible.
Yesterday she told me that school used to be the best part of her day, and now she dreads it. I tried to keep my face neutral, when she said that, even though I knew it was coming, even though I know it’s excruciating for her on many levels right now. Her friends are happy to have her back, but they look at her differently. The other kids whisper about her. The teachers she loves, the classes she likes, she’s caught up easily, but still feels tired and distracted—which in turn makes her feel bad that she’s not performing “up to expectations.” The teachers who don’t seem to get it, the classes she doesn’t enjoy… they’re a different story. She’s not caught up because we can’t seem to figure out what needs to be done, or she’s given assignments she can’t possibly complete.
So now—before heading into the woods—I’ll drive over to one of the many doctors’ offices and get some Official Paperwork. (I probably should’ve done it sooner, but I kept hoping that Things Would Even Out, because I’m stupid like that.) We’ll set up our Official Meeting and soon, Chickie will have a 504 Plan for the remainder of the school year. It’s for her own protection, so that they can’t hassle us about absences, so that teachers will be more cooperative, all of that. I don’t know why it feels like failure, honestly. Or maybe I’m just confusing helplessness with failure.
[I'm sort of looking forward to seeing the district 504 coordinator, again. She helped us when Monkey was just starting out here, five years ago, and when he was moved to an IEP and we were assigned to someone else, I was really bummed. I will try not to greet her with, "REMEMBER US? WE HAVE ANOTHER PROBLEM CHILD FOR YOU!"]
Progress in a situation like this isn’t going to be linear. Logically, I know this. Emotionally, I’m tired of feeling like every gain is followed by three steps backward. I’m tired of being reassured that “it takes time” and we “need to be patient.”
Playing by the rules doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere, so today we’re not going to. I’m busting Chickadee out of school and taking her on the Hippie School trip. In a sea of, erm, “highly individual” younger kids, no one is going to think anything about her except that she’s Monkey’s sister and she’s awesome. I’ll pack sandwiches and fruit and cookies and we’ll eat lunch in the forest together and I will sit there with my children and silently adore them. Monkey loves these outings more than just about anything. I have to believe a few hours outside, unjudged, un-gossiped-about, un-pressured, can only be good medicine for my other baby, too.
Who knows? Perhaps slug-licking is better for the soul than I know.