* The Wisdom of Social Institutions

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

There. That' s my obligatory holiday greeting. Now, let's get down to business, I'm already behind on this blogging thing.

Last week was a real test for my emotional stability, but I managed to resist the urge to curl up into a fetal position under my bed and weep uncontrollably. I know, on Wednesday I said I was relieved, and I was. But then on Thursday I was called in to Rio’s school to deliver him from yet another meltdown, this time before school even started.

The problem with this incident is that when I arrived, Rio calmed down pretty easily (I asked the principal to leave me alone with him this time, having learned my lesson), but he was insisting that he wanted to go home. I was doing my best to assure him that I couldn’t take him home, I had to work, he had to stay in school, without causing another eruption. Then, of course, the principal let herself back in and instantly Rio’s agitation visibly increased. And of course she insisted that Rio should not be allowed to stay at school. She felt that would send him the wrong message, since he had been kicking and hitting her a few minutes before and that clearly could not be tolerated.

Yes, but is it really a good idea to give him exactly what he wants after an episode like that? Do we want to send him the message that whenever he gets stressed out at school, all he has to do is explode and Mama will come and take him home where he feels safe and nurtured? It seemed like a terrible idea to me, but there was no talking her out of it. Now, the onus was on me to make sure that skipping school was not a pleasant consequence.

I think I achieved that fairly well, considering I was also trying not to increase Rio’s anxiety or diminish his self-esteem. I took him to work with me until lunch, and he played nicely and quietly for quite a while. At home he was grounded in his room, and he was allowed out only to write some letters of apology to the people he had hurt during his meltdown. He also took a nap that day – 2 hours long, and when he woke up he had dinner and afterward he was asking if he could go back to bed.

This fatigue issue is something I’m going to raise with the psychiatrist on Thursday, because I think it’s significant. Wait, I haven’t mentioned the psychiatrist yet! Sorry, we’ll see him on Thursday for an evaluation. I’m nervous already, and trying very hard not to be so that Rio won’t pick up on it. But I don’t have a lot of confidence in the results of a test that will be conducted in the course of an hour or two. How can they claim to figure out all of his issues in such a short time? It makes me suspicious. And then Rio won’t even see that doctor again, but in another 3 months he’ll see a different doctor who will try to gauge his progress. Meanwhile he’ll continue seeing his counselor on a weekly basis.

I just hope these people know what they’re doing. I hope I’m doing the right thing, giving them access to him.

Because in spite of his aggression and his explosive meltdowns, he’s such an enchanting little guy. Last week he told me that he wants to be like Martin Luther King when he grows up, because Dr. King knew that nothing is better than love. That’s enough to make my heart grow three sizes!

It’s also enough to get me through the worst of times. That Hercules, he’s something special. And when he says he wants to grow up to be like the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, I have no doubt that he will do great things. He’s a paradigm dismantler, that boy is. And his principal doesn’t appreciate it one bit when he messes with her comfy paradigm.

Someday, I wonder if we’ll look back on our current education system with the same horror that we look back on slavery. After all, slavery was once a very acceptable social institution.

The times they are a-changin’ and none too soon.


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