Monday, January 22, 2007

A School Meeting

I cried throughout most of the episode of Gilmore Girls that I was watching.

It was the one with Rory's 21st birthday.

I just want her and Lorelei to make up is all.

Tom called in the middle of it to ask what I wanted to do for lunch.

"Are you crying?" he asked when he heard me sniffing.

"I just...want...Lorelei and Rory to make up," I sobbed.

A pause.


"Who are Lorelei and Rory?"

Total confusion.

I explained that I was watching Gilmore Girls. Tom still didn't speak. I think his mind was still computing everything.

Wife crying over two women named Lorelei and Rory. Why?

"The show where you say they talk too much," I elaborated, dabbing at my eyes with a tissue.

A light in his brain.

"Oh. That show."

I've stopped crying for now.

Until the next show sets me off.

In other news, we had a meeting at Tommy's school last Friday.

Nothing serious, they just like to sit down with the parents to find out how the child lives at home.

Tom moaned when he found out about the meeting.

"Can't we just discuss this over the phone?" he grumbled on the way there.

"The school probably just wants to make sure we look like sane know, that we wear clothes without holes and have most of our teeth.." I explained, trying to lighten to the mood.

Obviously the school has seen us before when we enrolled Tommy. But it was brief and we only really met the principal.

Tommy was thrilled to be at school. When we walked in he pointed down the hall and went, "That's my classroom!"

He spotted his teacher walking around and she went, "Hi Tommy!" and Tommy immediately showed her his car that he had brought in with him.

"It's a green car!" he said seriously and gave her a big smile.

We were called back a few minutes later. This meeting wasn't with Tommy's teachers, this was just with one of the women who work with the school. She pops into each classroom and takes notes and then she's part of a team to make the classroom better for the children.

First off the lady asked what we did for a living.

"I'm a cop in the Air Force," Tom said unenthusiastically.

Sometimes I just want to kick him.

"And I'm a homemaker," I chimed in with a smile. I felt like I should show extra enthusiam since my husband was sitting back in his chair, hands clasped in his lap, looking bored.

Then the lady asked what Tommy did throughout the day. What he ate, what he played with, those sort of things..

She was impressed that he entertained himself in his room until nine.

"And he never cries?" she asked.

"Nope. Never. He just plays until I get him out and he's always happy and smiling.." I said.

She asked if he did imaginary play. For instance, if he played with cars, did he make the sounds that went along with them.

"Oh yes," I answered. "He has an excellent imagination. He loves to dress up. The other day he wore his doctor outfit and playing with his doctor kit to make us healthy."

In the middle of answering her questions Tommy was beginning to get frustrated. The lady had brought out a train track that you had to put together and Tommy couldn't fit one of the pieces in.

"Mommy, I need help. I can't do it!" he kept saying.

I kept flicking my eyes over to Tom, who was barely saying a word.

Hello Tom, if you're not going to talk, please help your kid so I can focus!

I even gave him a slight kick under the table and he slowly leaned forward out of his chair.

"What do you need, Tommy?" he asked, bored.

The questions continued as Tom showed Tommy how to clip the pieces together.

Apparently it wasn't quite right because the pieces came undone and Tommy whined again.

Tom sighed. "Just ignore it then," he hissed.

I forced a smile on my face while the lady asked if Tommy could dress himself.

"He can but I usually do it.." I replied.

"And his shoes? Does he put his shoes on?"

"Again, he can but I usually do it.."

"And when he brushes his teeth, does he put his own toothpaste on and brush his teeth himself?"

I gulped. "Er..I usually put the toothpaste on for him but he brushes his own teeth.."

(I got the feeling that I should be making him do more. But it's simply faster if I just do it. Obviously when Natalie comes I won't be able to do as much so I'd better start letting him do more..)

After the lady found out about Tommy's day she focused on Tom who was still leaning back in his chair, looking a little unfocused.

"What do you and Tommy do?"

Tom leaned forward a little bit. "We wrestle and I tickle him. Sometimes I get him in the morning so Amber can sleep. We'll play with his airplanes and play blocks.."

"So you're usually home then?"

"Well, my schedule is a little crazy so I'm not home as often as I'd like to be. I work three days then I have six days off. But on those first three days I have training and am usually not done until the evening. So I only really get those last three days off."

The lady recorded this on the pad of paper in front of her.

(I sort of wanted to peek at what she was writing.)

"Well okay then. We're finished. Thank you so much!" the lady said and shook our hands.

"I want to play!" Tommy shouted, sensing that his beloved train tracks were about to be taken away.

"You can play when you come back to school on Monday," I said in a soothing voice.

Tom, of course, just remained seated.

"But I want to play!" Tommy repeated, tears forming in his eyes and his voice wobbling, an indication that a fit was brewing.

The lady came down beside me. "You know, Tommy, your teacher says that you can play with this on Monday. You have my word..."

Tommy looked from her to me and back to her as though trying to figure out if we were telling the truth. I suppose he believed us because he gave a huge sigh and went, "Okay.." and started to pick up the train tracks.

"Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up.." he sang softly.

We left a few minutes later.

On the way out Tom went, "Well that was completely pointless.."

I smacked his arm lightly. "Stop it. You know, it would be great if you'd show an interest in your son's education."

Tom took immediate offense. "I do! I'm here aren't I!"

"Because I DRAGGED you. You'd be happy if I did this on my own, wouldn't you? Well guess what? Tommy is half of you which means you will always attend school meetings," I said.

"We could have done this meeting over the phone..I mean asking about his day? Who cares! Just teach him how to talk and learn. That's all I care about!"

" know nothing about the school system. They do this so they can figure out how to HELP him to learn. Each kid learns differently you know.."


Tom buckled Tommy in his carseat and we rode him in silence.

When we got home Tom asked what was wrong.

As if he didn't know!

"I just wish that you'd at least act interested in school meetings. It's embarrassing to have you just sit there like you'd rather be someplace else.." I explained.

"I would rather be someplace else," Tom admitted like a petulant child.

"Sometimes being a parent means doing things you don't want to do," I said softly.

We didn't talk for about an hour.

Then he came and sat by me on the couch.

He took a hold of my hand and squeezed.

I didn't squeeze back.

"You're still mad?" he asked.

"Yes. When you behave like that it tells the teachers that you're an uninvolved father.." I replied.

"I think I do a lot with Tommy," Tom argued. "I just don't like sitting through those meetings. It's hard sometimes to know that something is wrong with your kid..I wish he were normal sometimes.."

I took a deep breath. "Tom, he IS normal. He just needs help with learning. There's nothing wrong with that. I know it's difficult to hear that your child needs help. I try to look at it from your point of view..I know men always want sons and when their sons aren't perfect they take it as a hit, they believe it's their I right?"

Tom shrugged. "I mean I guess. Sometimes I wonder if I made Tommy this way. But it's mostly just hard when I see a kid his age, sometimes even younger, talking in perfect sentences and being able to sit for longer than a few minutes. I know he's a good kid, I know it..but it's hard.."

This time I squeezed his hand. "I know. Sometimes I'm scared too. But you've got to look interested in school meetings..."

"I'll try. I will try it's just most of the things they say I've heard before..."

Tommy has an IEP meeting on February 16th so we'll see if Tom took what I said to heart. This time we will be sitting with Tommy's teachers and finding out his progress and what needs to be worked on.

I know he's improved a lot.

He is a good kid.

Tom knows it too, I know he loves his son, I can see it in his eyes when they play together.

I know he's thrilled that Tommy says he wants to be a police officer when he grows up.

"Daddy, I'm gonna be a police officer when I grow up. Like DADDY," Tommy told him, proudly walking along with his play police belt around his waist.

I could see Tom's eyes light up a bit. "That's great, son..."


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