Monday, January 17, 2011

Sticky wicket

A sticky wicket is a term used in the game of cricket. Basically if the pitch is altered by rain or moisture, it creates a spot where the ball bounces erratically or in an unpredictable way. The metaphorical use is to describe a difficult situation. I will now explain my SW story.

I like to think that I have a lot of fantastic people in my life that are angels, helping me out on my journey with autism. Some are hidden, and some are in plain sight.  I put a lot of faith and trust in the people that teach and work with my son. I haven't had a lot of problems with therapy or school because we all seem to be on the same page. Encouraging and giving a gentle push here and there, and we all celebrate when Chandler reaches a milestone, no matter the size. Last week was a scheduling nightmare. I returned to school, and the kids were on week two back from Christmas break, and the weather was snow, and more snow and cold. Everyone was just out of sorts.  I found myself on edge, snapping at the kids, my husband, the remote for not channeling the way I wanted because I'm entirely sure I pushed the right button in my rage. I was at least ten minutes late to every class I went to, but Friday finally came and I rushed out of the house after my shower with wet hair because I needed to go to Zumba. Ah Zumba. My 50 minutes of letting the music control my body and clear my mind. I can let the power of Salsa, Merengue, and Cumbia take all my stress and replace it with joy, clarity, and calm.
I left Zumba feeling like I had my brain back. I was centered and energized. I got to my monthly Autism support group just in time, and as usual, the room was inviting and buzzing with familiar voices. I poured a coffee with hazelnut cream and bit into a macadamia nut cookie (so much for the calorie burning). I heard my name and looked around. Another mom with a child in my sons class was calling me over. She looked serious when she asked if she could talk to me. Her concern was a story about our children's class and a para who had apparently been not taking my son outside, texting while caring for him, and basically letting him "do his own thing". The coffee tasted bitter in my mouth, and I must have looked more upset than I thought because she was apologizing and telling me she didn't know what to do, but she felt she had to tell me what she knew. My concentration now broken, and although I always love listening to the parents in group talk, my thoughts kept going back to Chandler and this para professional. Why wasn't he going outside with the other kids? Don't they have policies about texting? What was he learning or doing with her? Why was she robbing my baby of his education and his opportunities for growth? What kind of training does she even have? I felt betrayed. Heartbroken that my son comes home every day and I ask him "How was school baby?" and he can't tell me. He can't say "I didn't go outside today mom", or ask me why he wasn't doing things the other kids were doing. The worst thought popped into my head. Does she even talk to him? I held back hot tears until I was in my car, and they fell in streams. I trust you with my son! He is locked in his own body, and might be crying out to communicate with you, and you are texting, and acting like this isn't the worst thing you can do by not engaging my son. What makes this even tougher on the mind, is that I am not even supposed to know this information. I might never have known.
As of now I haven't met with the school, or the para, or even spoken with them over this long weekend. I am glad I have the time to consider what I will say. But my rose colored glasses about school have been shattered. My wonderful experience thus far has been tarnished, and I am a cricket ball bouncing unpredictably on a sticky wicket.


  1. Nicole....first of all this might not come off as the right thing to say, but, from someone who just decided recently to let Allbri go to school this fall, I am "humbled" to be reading this. Because I always feel like I am alone when I have these thoughts of "what if's".....
    Im so sorry you had to hear that, I happy you had a friend that was "friend enough" to tell you what was going on. Me knowing you like I do, I know you are a rational person...I've seen you first hand turn opinions around from those who are skeptics about our children. I think it is great of you and shows your character as not only a mother but a advocate of all our children in that you are preparing yourself before you speak with the school and the para. I dont know if I could do the same...just yet. Please let it be known to you that we are all here for you and your family. I know that when you are done preparing mentally, you are going to walk in that room and give it to them good....not with fists flying or bashing of mean words, but with grace and dignity...and knowledge of not with what has been read or taught to our educators but with LIFE EXPERIENCE!

  2. What a nightmare ... thinking of you

  3. I always wonder what is going on with my child and yes I have been known to spy on them when they are outside. I wish schools had video cameras so we can watch what is being done with our children whenever we want. I hope all things go well in straightening this out.

  4. This is a heartbreaking read because it happens all too often, and I am so sorry to hear it has happened to your boy. You are right - some of our kids are locked in their bodies and can't tell us things. One day my minimally verbal, yet echoic son yelled, "sit down and shut the eff up!". We certainly don't talk like that around here so I wonder where he picked that up?

    My best wishes to you in confronting this situation and getting resolution for your precious boy.