The school called. Oscars' stimming is becoming a problem, a distraction...he can't focus, he is disrupting the class. He is laughing at inappropriate times. Oh..is that all? Phew! I was afraid that they were going to tell me that he quit, did not want to be there, had given up. I see so much of myself in Oscar,I don't want him to follow in my footsteps. When I was six years old, I quit, gave up,and most certainly did not want to be there. That's right, (sigh) I tried to be a first grade drop out.
After a blissful year of kindergarten where I played, danced and explored-first grade came as rather a shock . I just did not understand the orderliness of it all. Sitting still, keeping a neat desk, having to pay attention...sitting still! Where was the music? Where were the finger paints? Why was this woman dressed like a penguin?
I was in the first grade at Blessed Sacrament School, and I was miserable. Sister Margaret Mary, my teacher was a sweet little nun, yet she ruled with an iron crucifix. There would be order, there would be neatness! Day dreaming was not allowed. We were there to learn in a quiet and orderly fashion. Heaven help the child who resisted. It was her way or the "hellway". Did I mention that I was miserable? I was the ultimate day dreamer, the fidgety girl whose desk was always a mess, the questioner of all things questionable. I did not like being the focus of attention,but my behavior caused me to be the focus of hers. It all came to a head very early in the year.
It was the end of a beautiful fall day, and we were packing up to go home. In my joyful exuberance, I started whistling. An apparent major transgression in the classroom. (actually, it was more of a high pitched shrill sound as I was missing quite a few teeth) Sister Margaret Mary,was horrified ."I DEMAND to know-who is Whistling?" Sensing harsh punishment, and being the youngest of six kids, I knew to keep my mouth shut. The accusations flew! I too even looked around shaking my head in apparent disgust. What better way to hide my "sin" then to join everyone on this witch...or should I say "whistle" hunt?" "He did it Sister!".."She did it Sister!" It would seem as though everyone was accused. Everyone... but me. (heehee) Nobody confessed to this heinous crime, this unrestrained whistling..so Sister Margaret Mary declared that if the guilty party did not CONFESS, they would"BURN in the FIRES of HELL for all ETERNITY because of their DECEPTION!" I was only six years old, and if I didn't confess I was going to hell? I had to save myself, so I did the only logical thing that I could think of. I Kept my mouth shut, went home and promptly declared myself an atheist. I also quit school. Not exactly the wisest of declarations to make in a house headed by DEVOUT Catholics-they simply could not accept my rebellion. Especially as I could not give an explanation-I was not taking the fall for whistling. And I was not it seemed, going to be able to drop out.
I was remembering this story while I waited for Oscar to come home. We had to discuss his situation-but at the same time, I had to understand his reasoning..I could not use my "neuro traditional" thinking on his "non neuro traditional" behavior.
"Oscar, the school called. They said that you are shaking and eeeing and laughing a whole lot. Whats going on?"
"Yes, I know. But you seem to be doing it more than usual. Is there a reason?"
"Shaking feels good"
"I agree, it does feel good...but, you are doing it a lot. Is something bothering you?"
"I'm shaking and shaking..eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!"
"I need you to focus here buddy...WHY are you shaking so much at school?"
"I shake because of tricky work."
"The work is hard?"
"Yes! Can you be done now?"
"For now, but we have to figure out how to make the work not so tricky, o.k.?...O.K.?...Oscar?
"Yes!! Can I have a snack now?"
"Wait-one more question...You haven't by any chance been whistling have you?"
"Never mind...go get your snack"
That night, while putting the boys to bed, Oscar started saying "help. help". He had taken his arm out of his pajama sleeve, and stuck a tiny stuffed animals arm in its place. It was a little creepy looking and yet so very funny. So very Oscar. So truly wonderful. So absolutely stimulating.