Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bent, not Broken

Class trip. If it were better planned, organized and executed, that would have been helpful. As it was, one teacher sort of bullied her way into running things and changing things on the fly--which is something you really can't do a) in a city b) with 80-something kids and c) without informing the 20 or so adults chaperoning what your whims are.

I had three kids, including Nic. Nic did not like the itinerary, and that already made it hard. The other boys were game and good sports. I was able to keep them engaged and amused, despite the fact that another kid helpfully told me that the other boys were stressed out at the prospect of having to spend the day with Nic.

If that were the only 'ouch' moment, fine. But I lost count after about 15 of them.

The moment with the Ducks provided me with a lot of life instruction. First of all, owing to bad communication and bathroom lines, about a dozen of our people would have lost out on the trip if I hadn't stepped forward and said "we are missing people, we can't go yet." (Why didn't the teachers do this?) And one of my charges helpfully yelled out that he saw them coming (He didn't, but he stalled them long enough for the group to get there).

An aside, my friend was with another mom and her group and they were late because the other mom said she knew where she was going--and didn't. K and I had been texting all day, so she called me and I directed them via phone. I texted her once we were enroute that she could thank me later for holding up the tour.

Nic had a complete blow out meltdown. He was terrified of drowning, the Duck was antique and it would never float. I SO didn't see that coming. The whole damn Duck could hear him. So the teacher on the bus went up to the driver and asked if she could let Nic off.

I loved the irony. This woman couldn't speak up to ge the rest of the party on the Ducks, but she sure could to get my kid off the Duck....

Anyway, I started talking quietly to Nic, told him he was the most precious thing in the world to me, that I would never let anything bad happen to him....and then I started talking about all the things we were going to do this weekend.

He sat up. Looked around. And started enjoying the trip. When we got to the ramp, the driver stopped and I yelled up "We're fine!"

A security guy got on anyway and kept his eye on us the whole time we were in the river. Nic was very excited and enjoyed it very much. And said "You know, when I said this was a mistake, I was wrong."

So I was the last person off the Duck, having done a sweep to make sure none of the kids forgot anything. And the driver told me as I came off, "I need to shake your hand. You are amazing."

I just shrugged. "I'm really sorry about that. He has autism, and sometimes stuff like this is a crap shoot."

Nic was right there and chimed in, "I was wrong about this. I want to do it again!"

The driver shook his hand, too.

The teacher wanted to know what I said to Nic to calm him down. I just shrugged and told her the truth, and that I'm never quite sure what's going to work.

So by the time I got back to the bus to head back to school, I just wanted to crash and burn. I was just bone tired. Then I heard this kid say "And he was saying 'I want to get off! Don't let me drown'."

"Seriously?" I turned around, and I heard my own voice, the voice that hubby says can cut glass. "You really want to go there right now? You want to relive that? How would YOU feel if I dragged out something YOU had issues with for everyone to laugh at?"

Oh man. I am expecting a phone call.

Anyhoo, my good friend came to sit with me, and her calming presence--despite her own frazzled state--made me grateful to share my ride home with her--thank you, K.

Oh, God. I am so tired.

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