Today, we underwent the joyous process of picking up the 7th grade schedule (they always post them right before school starts, so nobody can complain), and then locating classrooms.
My poor son.
He’s just not used to crowds or school anymore. And middle school is like a crowded shopping mall. Lots of noise and activity. Add to that the excitement of new classes and schedule, and all sorts of interesting behaviors (some coping mechanisms, some panic reactions) begin to emerge.
A lot of you out there know what I’m talking about.
For instance, our encounters with the teachers were of two varieties. Either he paced around the room, bombarding people with information , or arrowed straight for something of interest (in one room it was a fan) without noticing anyone (or their greetings) at all. It looked like he was ignoring them, but of course that wasn’t it; he never saw or heard them at all.
As I said, he was overwhelmed.
It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been there. But I know that if I was under a lot of pressure (say, a deadline), phones were ringing, bad music was blaring, five people were talking to me at once, AND I had to concentrate on a task… well, then I’d probably get close. Eventually, one has to shut out the extraneous just to be able to function.
And he did manage to get the job done. He found every one of those classrooms.
Of course, water fountains became “checkpoints.” I knew, when he stopped at them, that he’d be stopping at them again at exactly the same point during the school day. Done with Science? Well, then, head to Checkpoint one and get a drink.
He also developed something new. Never, ever, has he shown an interest in efficiency. But now, suddenly, he was a race car driver. Every circular turn had to be as close as possible to the inside, for efficiency (except for brick walls – friction slows you down). Never mind that traffic was going the wrong way. If hanging right was fastest, we needed to do that! Every second matters!
All I could do was murmur about fish swimming against currents, and even that was chancy. If he’d been a porcupine, the quills would have been sticking out in every direction.
Halfway through our trip he started to go along with the traffic. Thank goodness. And I was proud of him for opening up and not stubbornly clinging to his idea. Not that our kids are ever stubborn about their own ideas. Or us, for that matter. Nope, I’m never stubborn. 😉
Once we’d been through the schedule once, fighting crowds, typos, and figuring out efficiency factors (this staircase, Mommy, not that one. And it’s stupid to stay right when left is more efficient!), we had to run through it all over again to help establish the habit.
When we were done, he announced that we’d visited exactly seventeen doors.
Comments like these make me love his mind. He’s barely hanging on, humming and shutting out what he can just to function, and yet he counts the doors. What an amazing thing the brain is.
I know, it’s a soothing ritual. Counting, humming, and the like. But it’s still fascinating.
I did manage to smile encouragingly at teachers when they shot me looks full of questions. Snapshot brochures were handed out. A school map – a map! – was lying on a table and I managed to snatch it up before anyone else could. Haha! My precious!
It’s only one o’clock, and already I’m bushed. As for my son, I’m giving him a pass for the rest of the day. Want some gatorade? Sure! Time alone? Yes, take as much as you need! Wii, Xbox, DS? Yep, enjoy!
Good luck to the rest of you out there who are facing the oncoming school year. I hope it’s a good one for each and every one of you!