The Captain and I make beautiful babies. Our sparkling, freshwater springs of DNA have blessed the boys with strong features, quick wits, kind hearts, and height possessed by neither of their progenitors. On occasion, however, some recessive, murky backwater seeps in and contaminates those pristine pools, producing a brackish blend of what I call "addict genes."
Thankfully, thus far the "addict genes" have yet to produce an actual addict. Time will tell. But the genes are diverse multi-taskers. They've conspired to place One and Four on the autism spectrum, which comes with its own subset of anxiety and depression. Three skipped the spectrum but kept the anxiety, with a side of ADHD. Two managed to elude the genes altogether; my guess is they're quick and crafty and, therefore, had no patience for his supremely chill demeanor. The Captain and I had our fingers crossed for Five, who always seemed a little nervous but was managing to hold it together these past nine years.
Our digits are undone.
Five is in third grade, which has been the academic year that breaks my boys. The workload increases dramatically, the standardized testing begins, and social awareness blossoms. Throw in a mean lunch aide, an unresponsive school nurse, and a ridiculous punitive behavior modification tool and even the strongest sink under the pressure. Even Two missed twenty Mondays his third grade year because it took three days for him to recover from each school week.
Five finally lost his grip on mental stability while I was away in Arizona. He forgot to bring back his "Friday Folder," which is a communication tool between the school and home. This resulted in his third "check" for the month, which qualified him for M.A.P--Modified Activity Playtime. Every child over the age of seven knows this really means detention, because its practical application is loss of recess.
Let me break it down, as the rappers would say: If my nine year-old forgets his homework or a folder three times in one month, he has to spend the twenty minutes of free time he gets in a seven hour day, the twenty minutes when he can run and play and yell with his friends, inside in detention. I'm sorry--inside in Modified Activity Playtime.
This exercise in bullshit is explained by the school as skill-building, to help the children learn responsibility. Clearly, no one involved in creating this crap is a parent to a teenage boy or they would realize the futility of their endeavor.
So, my Five has spent several days with me at home in the past two weeks, unable to overcome his anxiety and make his way into school. I know where this path leads. One missed four months of seventh grade and Three was home for more than that in fifth.
I'm tired of this district crushing the souls of my children. Five spent most of yesterday crying about how he can't take it anymore, he's so angry he never wants to go back, and if things don't get better he's going to die. This is the quote I will share with the principal when the Captain and I meet with him on Thursday.
The whole thing makes me mad enough to consider home-schooling, which I know stems from a place of love but is insane, because I'm not exactly in my right head these days, either. But that's a post for another day. There is a glimmer of hope, though, because Five is very articulate and willing to speak with someone who might be able to help him. We see the therapist next week.
The Captain and I have re-crossed our fingers.