Halfway to triumph

You know, I am positively kicking myself for not grabbing the Post-It on which the dipstick was scribbled. I should’ve said, “Can I take that with me? You know, to refer to it later?” A golden opportunity, missed. I hang my head in shame.

I also wish I’d brought all of you with me, as you were much more out for blood than I was. You could’ve made them cry, I think. My stance was more or less one of confused incredulity, where everything they said to me just pushed me further into wondering if there were hidden cameras around, or perhaps I’d stumbled into an episode of The Twilight Zone. “But… I should HAVE an oil gasket, yes?” (“THERE’S SOMEONE ON THE WING OF THE PLANE!”) Like that.

In the end, my money was refunded, they gave me a coupon for a free oil change (you know, once when I was pregnant I got salmonella from a chicken pizza, and when my ex called the pizza place to yell at them for poisoning his pregnant wife, they offered him a coupon for a free pizza) (so apparently following up gross negligence with the suggestion that you come back for seconds is commonplace), and we stood there and went back and forth for a while on whether or not the ensuing repair was, in fact, their responsibility, either in whole or in part.

Now, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I have no trouble sinking my teeth in and not. letting. go. when I am convinced I am in the right. They did screw up my oil change; no question. Whether or not they caused the problems that followed… well, that’s a tougher call. I think they probably did. But it’s not easily proven. And the truth is that I owned the car before this one for two years without having to repair it, and I’ve had this car for nearly a year without repairs, and part of me feels that this was a small price to pay to learn the great cosmic lesson of not letting drive-through places touch my car. So.

I am at peace with the outcome. It would’ve been lovely if they’d forked over the repair costs, but I didn’t expect it. (And really, the illustration of the dipstick along with the lesson in how fluid is checked was an unexpected bonus. I shall be retelling that little tidbit for YEARS.)

It’s also possible that I am strangely sanguine over the Oil Change Debacle because of what happened earlier in the day. Before I dealt with that, I went over to school to have a meeting about Monkey.

You may recall that the communication channels were not, how shall we say, operating at top efficiency when it came to Monkey’s difficulties at school. He was still having trouble, and I wasn’t really feeling the love for his teacher as we tried to get a grip on things.

But yesterday, ahhhhh. Yesterday I remembered why we moved here, why we picked this school district. I walked into a roomful of people all there to HELP. I found myself on the verge of tears several times throughout our meeting, not due to frustration but out of gratitude.

The people there who know my kid (his teacher, the guidance counselors, a specialist who’s worked with him) smile when they talk about him. They see the funny, warm, loving kid underneath the trouble he’s having. They don’t talk about him like he’s just a pain in the ass (and I’m not sure I would blame them if they did). They’ve gotten together and compared notes and already picked out things and made connections that have us considering options that never would’ve occurred to me.

In the middle of the meeting, the person running it turned to me and said, “What do you think is happening, here? You know him best, and I believe in listening to mother’s intuition. Do you have anything to share just based on what you FEEL?” It seems much more granola-crunchy and let’s-compare-crystals-y than it was. In actuality it was perfect; very matter-of-fact, attentive, and as if nothing could make more sense than to ask me if maybe I had the answer.

Too bad I don’t have the answer. But I did appreciate being asked.

Anyway, it was an hour that went a long way towards restoring my faith in humanity. And it plunked down a few more pieces into the puzzle that is my Monkey. We have a plan, and I suspect more answers are coming.

In the meantime, I just have to hope my kid doesn’t actually combust during one of his conniptions. (“Honey, you have to calm down! We’re only five evaluations away from figuring out what makes you tick!”)

I’ll leave you hanging on the current working theory, both because I suspect it’s only of interest to me and because I’m feeling a little too euphoric to deal with any “Oh I know a kid with that and he—” horror stories. Especially when we don’t really KNOW anything yet. We merely suspect. And I am spending a lot of time slapping my forehead and saying “of COURSE!”

My adoration for the school team’s creative efforts was cemented when Monkey came home with his “feelings book.” It’s a gripping tale, I tell you, all about Monkey and his many feelings. The classroom aide took the various action shots of Monkey and his pals and they typed up the text and laminated the whole shebang. “Sometimes I get angry!” is accompanied by Monkey making his best angry face (and the red eyes from the lousy photo just make it better). “Sometimes my friends can help me!” shows his best little girlfriend (he has many girlfriends, despite his numerous outbursts; proving that girls really do like guys who act like jerks) tying his shoe for him.

“Everyone has lots of different feelings,” the book concludes. The picture of Monkey flanked by two friends, all making different feeling-faces, on that last page, is his favorite.

“This is a great book, buddy,” I told him, giving him a squeeze. “You are the best book-maker I know!” He scaled my side and wrapped himself around my torso.

“And YOU are the best MAMA I know!” He rubbed his cheek on mine and I inhaled the scent of his shampoo. “You love me and take care of me just like a mama should.” He put his head on my shoulder and sighed, content.

Yeah. Yesterday was a pretty good day.


  1. Dana

    “And YOU are the best MAMA I know!” He rubbed his cheek on mine and I inhaled the scent of his shampoo. “You love me and take care of me just like a mama should.” He put his head on my shoulder and sighed, content.


    What could be more sweet than that??? That is so precious!

  2. Erin

    I’ve lurked on your blog for a long time. Your stories make me smile, laugh out loud and sometimes other stuff *s*.

    It sounds like you did have a great day. It sounds like your son is a lucky little boy.

  3. Suebob

    Aw. You making me cry with that Best Mama stuff.

  4. Fold My Laundry Please

    I just love it when people actually acknowledge that a mother might actually know something about her children. Most people seem to act like we are so addle brained by hormones or something that if we do have an opinion, we’re probably overreacting or just plain wrong. I’m so glad that you and Monkey have such a great support group there at the school! I’m not looking forward to when my kids start school because, after seeing how my dyslexic brother was treated all throughout his school years, I’ve kind of lost faith in public schools.

  5. Julie Q.

    Love the “follow up gross negligence with a coupon” approach — like that’s going to fix things right up.

  6. Muirnait

    Aw. :-) Reminds me of a song…”Yeah, I live for little moments like that.”

  7. Kendra

    tears…such a sweet little monkey…more tears

  8. paige

    Sigh. What a great day. Here’s hoping that the puzzle pieces fall into place quickly. I’m glad Monkey has such loving support at home and at school.

    I’ve got my own Monkey, who’s now 15 and though we have rough patches, overall he’s a great kid who’s doing well at the important stuff.

  9. angelfeet

    Oh, this is a good thing, this love between Monkey and Best Mama. So sweet.

    And “conniptions” – excellent word. I must go and use it right now.

  10. lisa in NJ

    If you don’t mind me asking, what do they think Monkey has? I ask only because our sons seem to be cut from the same mold. Your son is so much like mine and I’m just begining the battle to find out what’s wrong with my son. If it’s to personal, I understand. I’m just looking for some help in finding out how my kid ticks too. Thanks.

  11. Christina

    Sounds like Monkey is getting the best of care, and that is so wonderful for all y’all (from the south, had to be done at least once).

  12. Brigitte

    Ha, the coupon for a free oil change, I KNEW IT!

    In my fog of old memories, I remember having conniptions every day in first grade for a while (kindergarten had been no trouble). I think I was just overloaded after a few hours of school and had had ENOUGH . . . eventually they beat it out of me, ha ha. Your Monkey is such a sweetie, I hope you and his “support team” make some progress soon finding out what’s wrong, and it sounds like he has lots of friends and a great mama to see him through.

  13. tori

    Monkey seems like a very sweet boy, so of course that is coming through to his teacher. When I was teaching (Knidergarten a very long time ago) my “favorite” kids, the ones who were always in my heart, the ones I still write letters to even now (10 years later), were the sweet ones that had some difficulties behaving as people would expect them to. The difficult ones, the ones that made me go home and want to tear my hair out to try to figure out why they did what they did, those were my very favorite kids.

    I’d love to hear your theory on what is wrong and I promise not to scare you if you tell me. I have my own new theory about my son’s illness now too, and if I’m right, that would be great news because it would mean it isn’t too serious.

  14. Ei

    Nice mama. Very nice. I love my son’s school for exactly the same reasons.

  15. Susan

    I am relieved that the meeting with the school ended well, and not with a coupon for More Gross Negligence!

    And Monkey made me cry. So there.

  16. Ben

    I also wish I’d brought all of you with me,

    It could be like the cell phone commercials. We could be your “network,” and you could be like, constantly trying to get away from us but we’re always there. Okay, “stalkers” might apply, too. Shush.

    Monkey is awesome. Go back for seconds…

  17. Ani

    Oh the irony of seeing quick-lube and anger-management ads running down the side of the site. :-)

    I’m glad the school is coming thru for Monkey. May you have some good plans of attack soon.

  18. Aimee

    awww… Monkey is very sweet.

  19. Jenn2

    There ought to be a replay button, so we can remember those moments. You know, during the times we want to pinch their little heads off.

  20. InterstellarLass

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could TiVo those moments? I get the Best Mama award from my own Monkey. I know exactly how it feels. Like your heart could burst from love. It’s such a good feeling, isn’t it???

  21. Allanna

    Awwwww! Monkey is so adorable. I want to start a Monkey fan club. With your permission, of course.

    And the oil place so should have at least sucked it up and paid for replacing your oil gasket, too. Blargh.

  22. Carrie

    I just started reading recently so I don’t know all the history but we are really struggling with my son right now too. We had a really good two weeks since he’s changed teachers and then yesterday he pushed a kid down, pinched another, was disrespectful to the teacher and disruptive during class and all I could think was ‘just one and a half more weeks till his psych eval comes back’. Not knowing what to do or how to fix it is the WORST.

  23. Sheila

    Glad the people walking this walk with you and Monkey are the right people. One step at a time, right?

  24. Michelle

    I love it when you use words like “sanguine” :)

  25. Heather

    Ahh, wonderful, it’s good that you had a great meeting.

  26. Melanie

    Awww, that is the sweetest thing ever – what a great kid. :)

  27. Em

    We moved just to get into a school district where the meetings were about my son and his needs rather than trying to find the least expensive manner for the school to pretend to meet his needs. Treasure the feeling from that meeting. It doesn’t always go that way even in the best schools.

  28. Cele

    Wow, warm fuzzies. Oh and kewl school district.

  29. wookie

    I have a suggestion (try not to take this as assvice). Have you ever heard of or tried Bach Flowers “Rescue Remedy”?

    I’ve only had to use it with my oldest (who has anxiety issues) but it’s really helped. It’s a naturopathic remedy, essence of something dissolved in something else, you’d find it at a health-food place in all likely hood. You either put a few drops on the tounge directly or a few drops in a small glass of water and drink.

    It sounds weird, but even our phobic of thunderstorms dog has calmed down using it and he’s tried to dig his way out of the house through the shower prior to Rescue Remedy.

  30. rachel

    I’m so glad you are getting the help and attention you and Monkey deserve. I loooove the book idea. I may very well steal that.

    We’ve had a lot of advice and assvice on helping BG, and if you’re ever interested I am happy to tell you what was useful in our situation.

    You are a great mama – kids are so much more important than oil changes! :)

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