Do you remember middle school?
I do. It was hell. I got hate mail from girls I thought were my friends. Kids made fun of my name and my complete and utter lack of athletic ability. One day I even got a face full of shaving cream when I got on the bus.
Torture is fun, isn't it?
I don't often talk specifically about my Aspie or the way his different abilities affect him or our family, because really it's all just a part of our life. But less than a week from today, he heads off to middle school. And I'm terrified.
He's going to be dealing with things he can't possibly understand. Kids with hormones and cell phones - he has neither as yet. A massive new school - when lots of people and sound set him on edge, something he doesn't really get about himself. And a schedule that rotates every third day. Every third day. Yeah, 'cause that makes sense in a five-day week.
His ADHD means he still dashes into the street without looking. And now he's expected to walk to school by himself every day.
His Asperger's means he's got limited social skills. And all that non-verbal stuff? Goes right over his head. He doesn't understand when people are sarcastic with him, or mean to him. He thinks bullies are his friends.
There are definitely bullies in middle school.
He's smart, and he knows when he's being left out or ostracized. And it hurts.
He has a very hard time staying organized. And now he's expected to track assignments in six core classes plus extras.
He needs frequent breaks to keep his sanity - and now his school day is longer, with no recess.
He's got a raging high metabolism, thanks to the ritalin and his own biology. He needs protein and carbs constantly. Yet he won't get lunch until 1:30, and snacks aren't allowed.
He's also a sweet kid with a big loving heart. I think it makes him vulnerable. But maybe that's not a bad thing. Maybe he's smart enough to figure it all out. Right? And the bigger school may mean he'll find his niche and a few friends, real friends. Maybe even some kids like him.
And he thinks he's ready. He really does.
Maybe he is. Most likely, it's just me who's not.