Parenting Fail or Life Fail?

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I didn’t want to post twice on the same day, but I was riding high from yesterday’s apparent win when we fell victim to today’s fail.

I had to share.

Jake and his classmates went on the 8th grade class trip today.  We had pre-planned, pre-taught, and even stopped at the ropes course place in Trenton to take some pictures with Jake’s iPad, in order to familiarize him with what was ahead.

We discussed it at length.  He knew he was going to spend 9-10 hours with Ms. O., his special ed teacher.  He knew they were going to the movies.  He knew he’d be on a bus all day.  He knew they were going to Trenton (bowling if it rained).  Beth even packed him a duffle bag for all contingencies: shorts, pants, swimsuit, towel, hoodie, extra underwear, spare flip flops, etc.  We had it all worked out.   Until…

Beth was meeting with our case management service.  I was sweeping up the endless dog hair.  The phone rang.  It was our friend Suzie, who has known Jake for nearly his entire life.  She said that the bus had arrived earlier than expected, and could she bring Jake to us, saving us a trip to the middle school?  I said that was fine if he’d get into her truck; call me if he will not.  She dropped him off without incident.  Or so I thought.

Given Beth’s magical maternal way with Jake, I thought he’d gush at the chance to tell her all about his day, and I also thought that would be fun to capture on video.  I set up the camera, placed my two subjects, and got this video:

He completely stonewalled us.  He wouldn’t give up an inch.  He was good and mad.  After I turned off the video, which shows surprising maturity and saving of face, he began to verbally express his dissatisfaction with us having “Zoozie” pick him up.  He said we lied, and that we were wrong.  Zoozie wasn’t supposed to pick him up; we were.  It’s not that he doesn’t like Suzie, in fact he loves her.  It’s just that it wasn’t part of the script.

We should have realized this, but it all happened pretty quickly.  I know we can’t possibly prepare for EVERY. SINGLE. POSSIBILITY. but we tried, and we missed one.  The sad part is we didn’t even realize we missed one when it was staring us in the face.

He still won’t tell us (as of this writing at 8:30 – bedtime) who won, which movie they saw, if he had any fun…   I hope he forgives us enough tomorrow for a full account.  Ms O. even texted Beth and said “Jake was absolutely awesome today.”  Everything went well until he came to this unexpected twist.  Beth texted Suzie, thanking her for dropping Jake off and asking her if it went poorly.  Suzie said that Jake had told her she was “wrong.”

That’s how quickly it goes from great to crappy.  In the spirit of telling the unvarnished truth, there it is.   There’s a fair chance he’ll look back on today and remember the anger and the frustration.  That’s what autism does.  It can suck.

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