I Formed a Wrestling Team

This was my facebook status after school:  

Here’s a math problem for you: How many teachers and parents does it take to get an angry child into a minivan? Related: How many glasses of wine does it take to make a mom stop from rocking in the corner and making groaning noises as she relives the whole thing? Bonus question: How far can an out-of-shape mom with asthma run in heels before she thinks she might actually die?

As you can probably guess, the coat struggles that I wrote about yesterday got even worse today.  We used the dressing strip to get her coat on this morning, and it worked beautifully.  Even managed a hat and mittens.  There was a slight hiccup when Maggie saw Grace’s mittens, and realized that they were not the equivalent to hers, and began ransacking the front hall looking for her own pair.  When Maggie and Grace get new things at the same time, Maggie tries to enforce coordination.  This can involve Maggie changing into something that matches, or was purchased at the same time as, what Grace is wearing.  Or as in the case of the Christmas Pajama Incident of 2010, she will repeatedly throw the outfit at Grace, and yell “CHANGE” before trying to wrestle her out of her clothing.  This morning it was the insistence that she also needed her waterproof mittens from last Christmas.  I found them, we patted ourselves on the backs for a relatively uneventful dressing session, and off we went to school.

Their Christmas Eve jammies in 2010.  Maggie insisted that they all wear them at the same time after that.  I think she believed that they are magic jammies, that make presents arrive in the living room.

That’s where we went wrong.  We got too smug.  

This afternoon, I went to pick her up as usual.  I get her from her EA about 5 minutes before the bell, so that I can hear about her day, and we can be out of the chaos of the hallway when the other kids get out.  She had a wonderful day, had her coat, and even her backpack on, which is no small miracle.  
First the backpack got thrown down.

Then the coat started to get unzipped. 

It was all over from here.

Maggie and I had a full-out wrestling match once we got out to the school yard in a battle over her coat.  The only things missing were stage names and awkwardly tight unitards.  I’m sure it was quite a show.  I was trying to keep her in her coat and zip it up, all while keeping myself from falling flat on the ground, and positioning her so that she wouldn’t hit her head on the pavement.  

It sucked.  For both of us. 

The music teacher was on yard duty and came over to help me get her coat back on because at that point I had to follow through, but it is impossible to do by yourself.  Then she said that she would help me to my car because I had 3 kids and their backpacks to get around to the front of the school.  That was when I remembered that I couldn’t get a spot in the lot so I was parked somewhere in another country.  Crap.

The teacher insisted that I go get the car while she and one of the SERTs stayed with the kids.  So I ran.  In heels.

I guess it is rather alarming when you see a mom running away from the school at the end of the day without her children.  So that got some attention.  The icing on the cake was when I almost caused a car accident by bolting into the street, causing the crossing guard to lunge after me.  I think I shocked her by how fast I was running.  Or that I wasn’t waiting for my kids like a responsible mother.

With my glasses all steamed up, and my lungs on fire, I drove the van to the back of the school, where it took me, the music teacher, Maggie’s EA, and a SERT to get Maggie in the van and buckled.  The music teacher even followed me home to make sure I was able to get in okay.  Thank God for their help.  I don’t have any other schools to compare ours with, but I just know that we have a great one.  Every day I get another piece of evidence.  The teachers there really care about my kids.  They didn’t have to help me.  But they did.  And I am grateful.

I am not grateful for autism, however.  I don’t understand the people who say that they are.  They are either lying, or they are doing this wrong.  Seeing my sweet baby girl struggle with simple things that an average 2 year old has mastered…who can be grateful for that?  Yes, I can be grateful that she has her health, and I am extremely grateful for that.  My gratitude for her knows no bounds.  But my loathing of autism is also limitless.


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