This is what it's like to be the mom of a special-needs boy:
I park the car in the usual spot, which is about a block uphill from the school. This allows me to get out of the area easily after I walk him to The Stairs, rather than getting stuck in the carpool dropoff line. (My boy? Not so much into the dropoff line.) As I pull over, I notice a few kids--including a boy from N's class--walking down the hill from their homes.
"Do you mind if I just wait until M passes to open the car door, Mommy?" N asks.
And just like that. Heart in my throat. Why is he afraid to open the door as this boy passes? What is that little fucker doing to him? Is it physical? Or just name-calling?
We wait the 30 second until the boy and his friends are past, at which point N opens his door and hops out, all smiles. I'm less smiley.
"N," I say in a quiet, confidential voice as we begin to walk toward the school, a good 20 yards behind the child whose back is being stabbed by the arrows shooting from my eyes. "What does M do to you?"
He looks genuinely confused. "Do to me?"
"Why didn't you want to open the door when he was walking past? Is he threatening you? Making fun of you? Hurting you?"
"Uh, NO!" he said, with real vehemence. "I'm shy of him. I didn't want to have to say good morning, or walk in front of him or next to him. I like being behind better."
If he were a kid who understood sarcasm just a little better, he would instead have simply stuck his hand out and said, "HELLO? Have you MET me?"
Of course. This was about N, not M (who, isn't a little fucker, it turns out, and sorry about the arrows in your back, kiddo).
You'd think I would have known. You'd think.
So, in case you were wondering? School's going just fine. Everything is still OK. Once Mommy got her head out of her ass, that is.