Life has been a little nutty ’round here, lately.
Um, not the “ZOMG Y’ALL I AM SO BUSY” kind of nutty. For one thing, I sort of hate that assertion on general principle, because isn’t EVERYONE busy? I mean, usually? When I have a lot of stuff to do, any spare moments I have for reflective thought tend to take the shape of “Did I remember to eat today?” and “Do I have any clean clothes to wear?” or even “Why do these children keep talking at me and expecting me to feed them?” Even if I had time, it would never occur to me to be convinced that I was eversomuchmorebusier than anyone else. Life is busy for 99.99999% of the population.
No, it’s been nutty more in the MANY FEELINGS and CHANGE IS HAAAARD and HOW DO I MAKE THE THINGS THAT NEED TO HAPPEN ACTUALLY HAPPEN kinds of ways. And while that last item falls, I guess, into the general “busy-ness” category, the other two are much more matters of “May I please be excused? My brain is full.” Only no one ever explained to me as a kid that adults are never excused no matter the fullness of their brains. So unfair.
Anyway. The only thing that ever stays the same is change, right? Right. And I hate change. I am a creature of habit, I have all the spontaneity of your average lichen. I like to know what is happening when, and I especially like to create that sort of predictability for my Sooper Special Snowflakes because the only people I know who are worse than I am at dealing with change are them. HAHAHAHA. (I wonder how THAT happened? It’s a puzzle.)
[Digression, but only sort of: When I wrote a few weeks back about leaving a to-do list for the kids when Otto and I went out for the evening, one of my regular (I think) readers wrote her own piece referencing my post and what a complete control freak I am. This made me feel defensive, at first, but then I had to laugh, because 1) Yes, of course I am, please tell me something I don't know, and 2) it never ceases to amaze me how bizarre certain things which I've come to accept as commonplace/necessary must look to people who don't understand what parenting adapted to accommodate disability must look like. Because yes, we could absolutely leave our nearly-14-year-old and 15-and-a-half-year-old at home alone for the evening and feel reasonably confident that both they and the house would still be here and in one piece when we returned. In fact, the time BEFORE the list, that's what happened. We went out, and everyone lived. But only one of them ate dinner and the other one took their meds and the dog was dying to go out and it looked like a bomb had gone off in the kitchen and and and AND... you get the picture.
Was the list I left totally helicoptery? Yes. Yes, it was. Maybe even ridiculous, for a couple of "normal" kids? Probably so. My children are marvelous and brilliant and perfect (just like yours, I bet) but they are also significantly disabled in terms of executive functioning thanks to their various issues. They have the working memory of goldfish. (And here may I just add that once you have a kid go on medication for ADHD the heavens open and the angels sing and everyone goes HOLY CRAP LOOK AT HOW AMAZING YOU ARE WHEN YOU CAN ACTUALLY FOCUS and bluebirds land on your shoulder and smile. But then the medication wears off in the evening and there's something called a rebound effect that takes your child who just had 8-12 hours of beautiful functioning and renders them approximately 100x more disorganized and distractible than they were prior to medication. FUN!) Both kids are learning to make their own lists to help keep them organized, and on that particular evening I made the list for them. You know what else? They did everything they needed to do in our absence, AND made some funny jokes for us to find when we got home, AND we all had a laugh and didn't have to have an argument about "But why didn't you..." or "How come you forgot..." either that night or the next day. It worked, for us. tl; dr: I REGRET NOTHING. I get that it's overkill for others, though.]
So my point here… I had one, I’m sure I did… hang on…
… oh, right. My POINT was that a lifetime of being a control freak and then becoming a parent to two kids with issues that mean they need a little extra control help, too, has combined to shape me into someone who feels very nervous about change, particularly when it comes to said children.
“But I feel like your strength as a parent is that you’re never afraid to try something else if the current path isn’t right,” my dear and darling friend Kira said to me on the phone a few weeks ago, as I explained my latest crazy idea to her.
“That is an AWFULLY nice way of saying that I never have the slightest idea what I’m doing and so it’s marginally easier for me to pick something else because I figure whatever I picked last was probably wrong,” I pointed out.
She swears that is not what she meant. I am pretty sure she was lying, though.
Just a few months ago I was extolling the virtues of homeschooling to anyone who would listen. “We’re on year three, and I think we’ve finally hit our groove!” I would insist. I wasn’t lying. Monkey and I make a pretty good team, and for perhaps the first time since removing him from public school, I felt like everything was more or less in balance for him. His first year, with full-time Hippie School, he was getting what he needed socially, but not academically (and that was fine with us and a conscious choice). The second year, with part-time Hippie School and part-time virtual schooling, he was back to getting more of what he needed academically. And this year, with full time virtual schooling and just a one-day-a-week co-op AND the fact that he’s discovered online gaming with some other homeschool friends and that same group meets regularly for D&D, it felt like we’d finally found the academic rigor he needs without him being totally isolated.
Except he needs more teacher interaction, because while he’s fine with the level of work, his organization is still completely scattershot and for SOME reason his burgeoning independence (autism achievement: UNLOCKED) means he is not interested in his MOM riding him to stay on schedule, clarify issues, etc.
Except he needs more face time with other teens, because he’s really starting to miss it.
Except for the first time, he sees all of the extracurriculars his sister does and wonders when he’ll be able to do that stuff, too, with other kids, but you know, not necessarily just homeschool kids…?
It just felt like “next year…” was becoming a constant refrain. Monkey was frustrated with me. I was frustrated with him. We were both constantly frustrated with his virtual school teachers. And the control freak part of my brain was screaming NO NO NO NO NO HE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT HE’S ASKING. Some kids transition seamlessly from homeschool back to public school, but it has never been our assumption that that would be true for him.
So I spent about a month researching and talking to people and working out various options and stalking school administrators and asking Monkey if this was really, REALLY what he wanted. And breathing into a paper bag.
Well, it turns out that “next year” starts in January. Because next month, Monkey’s going to high school. Half days (for this first semester, anyway), but he’s going.
He’s excited. And the parts of me that aren’t Chicken Little-ing are excited for him. Really. I just… need to go lie down for a minute.