“Thank You for Not Talking.”


It’s the first week of school. There are two teachers, one of which is new. Michael comes home yesterday in a complete emotional and mental tangle. Sigh.

I say, “You seem tangled.”

“Stop talking to me!” he snappily responds.

At this point there is no talking to him; he’s too upset and can’t get a grip. I’ll wait. Very quietly (shhh).

I waited.

He finally blurts out, hours later, something to the effect of, “Mom, when we’re talking and making noise, the new teacher says ‘thank you for not talking!’ when very clearly we ARE talking.” The tears start for him. He’s held this painful disruption to his being all day long.

At this point I’m sad for many reasons:

  1. I’m sad that words are so powerful for him that they can wreck his entire day.
  2. I’m sad that these verbal “assaults,” if you will, cause him great pain for extended periods of time because he just CAN-NOT-COM-PUTE (in your best robot voice). I’m sad because I don’t know if he ever will compute.
  3. I’m sad that I will have to address this in some way. I don’t know her at all, so what’s the best mode? Will she be offended? Do I ask the head of school to address it? I’m sad there are so many options to the whole thing. I know it has to be addressed, though, or my life will get unbearable and that is not OK. There’s another child on the spectrum that Michael said was also upset by her choice of words.

I will wait until tomorrow and then I will make a choice. I will ask him questions tonight and have him swing in his therapy swing for as long as we’re able. This too shall pass, and I’m tired, yo.



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