This has been such a long, emotionally brutal day for me. So many things have been thrown at me, and in a couple of cases, I did not handle them very well.
First, I need to do a little background explanation. I have had both boys tested for allergies, food and environmental. Both of my twins are highly allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, which requires an anaphylaxis plan (complete with EpiPens at school). When my one twin had his allergy testing done, the peanut tester area raised up so red and irritable and was as big as my pinky fingernail. I have the anaphylaxis plans at school, plus the EpiPens, and I thought the teachers knew about the food allergy.
Today was a half-day at school. It was the last day of parent/teacher conferences. I had volunteered to help out for the parent/teacher conference movie time (child care for the parents so they can go to the conferences without their kids.) Our school’s lunch was a take-home sack lunch, with crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I had assumed that it would be a sub sandwich. There is the one breakdown in communication because I had assumed something. The other is that the food services director, in my opinion, should know which kids have food allergies and plan accordingly.
So, when I went to pick up my boys today, I found out that lunch was PB&J. My one son didn’t order lunch because he thought I was going be bringing him a lunch, my other son didn’t eat it because he knows he can’t have PB. I came unglued because I had spoken to that food services person earlier last week about food allergies and that both of my boys were allergic to PB and tree nuts. I called over to her office, and started yelling at her (not a good thing, looking back, especially since I did this in the school office.) She and I disagree that it should be her job to know about food allergies; I should be notifying her of any diet modifications. I agree with the notification of diet modifications, but she should know about food allergies, especially when she is cooking food. Heck, I will claim responsibility and say that I should know, too, what ingredients the food services program is using so that I can plan for food modification.
My gosh, this is just one more thing I have to monitor, along with IEP’s, therapy sessions… ack.
The food services director did make the boys new lunches and dropped them off at the business office. I was thankful for that since we don’t have much food at home. But, now I have hurt someone that I shouldn’t have because of my overprotectiveness and I was under stress- thinking about how the heck I was going to feed my boys since I didn’t have anything at home, and I didn’t have any money.
At the end of last week, I had asked one of the local coffee shops to donate coffee for today’s parent/teacher conferences for the teachers. I know from my own past experiences with parent/teacher conferences that teachers don’t get much time to get anything to eat or drink between conferences, so I thought that coffee would be a nice treat for them. Luckily, the local coffee place (if you haven’t had Biggby Coffee, you’re missing OUT. This is the BEST coffee in the world as far as I’m concerned.) The manager at Biggby Coffee called me to see if I was coming to pick up the coffee; I had thought that they were going to deliver it. Since they were short-handed at the shop, I had to go pick it up. No problem….sigh…right when I need to get things set up for the movie time. Thankfully, one of the teachers watched my boys while I went to get the coffee.
I got back, set up the coffee bar for the teachers (3 gallons of regular and 3 gallons of decaf, or as I call “brown water”), and finally went to the auditorium to do my child care duty.
One of my friends was doing the movie time with me. I was still all jittery and upset from the food service incident. I had not had lunch; the boys did, thankfully. I did manage to scarf down a piece of pizza in the teachers’ lounge, but I was still out of sorts emotionally and physically. Luckily, my husband brought me lunch.
At one point of time, I had to leave the auditorium because I had to take a phone call. During this time, there was a baby crying during the movie. My son, even though he has Asperger’s, still has a strong social sense of knowing when someone is upset, and he wants to fix it. He has it in his mind that he has to comfort and protect everyone (gee… I wonder where he gets that from… hmmmm….) He thought that the movie was scaring the baby, so he went up to the movie to block the picture. My friend told him not to do that. Casey got more upset and went up to the projector to block the picture more, and bumped against the projector. My friend scolded him again, not understanding about Asperger’s or autism, nor my son’s motivation for doing what he was doing.
When I got back from my phone call, I saw my son on the floor in a crying heap. I asked him what was wrong and he said “Mrs. M said I couldn’t stop the baby from crying.” Immediately, I thought that she didn’t want Casey going up to the baby. I went up to her and asked her what happened. She told me, but Casey did not tell me the whole truth. So, I blew up at her, thinking that she overreacted at Casey, and told her, “Of all people with a science background, you should understand about autism. Don’t make my kids cry.” Of course, she got upset, and later left.
When I finally got the truth out of Casey, I felt awful. I told him, “I wish you had told me what had really happened. I got upset at Mrs. M., and now I need to reconcile. Reconcile means to fix the relationship.” I asked him if he understood, and he said he did.
Before we left, I talked to one of the janitor, and ended up crying. I talked to another teacher and cried some more. I talked to the principal and cried even more.He suggested that I fix things with the food services director tomorrow. I know I have a lot of mending to do tomorrow. I already called my friend to start the mending process. I need to stop over at the food services director’s office to mend fences with her.
So, how does all of this tie into my title “Like Mother, Like Son”? Well, Casey and I are both fiercely protective. We are both perfectionists because we feel awful when we make a mistake. Also, we are sensitive to other’s feelings. We both overreact to situations when we don’t have all the facts.
I feel awful for everything wrong that happened today. My eyes and head hurt so much from crying. I know I overreacted both times, but in both situations, I was just trying to protect my kids. But, I could have handled it better.