First off, let me say a big thank you to anyone who thought enough of me to email me or send me some good vibrations. The Internet is a strange and wonderful place, and I am honestly tickled pink that you guys would care enough to think of me. I’d elaborate further and beg for support since I was born lacking a filter (it’s genetic, I’m assured), but it’s not my issue and it’s not for me to discuss.
*air smootches to you all*
It may come as a shock to absolutely no one that my parents were hippies. Well, considering how I turned out, it may come as a shock to everyone, but I digress. I was born into a family who grew their own veggies, churned their own butter (yes, seriously), made their own maple syrup and shopped at real health food stores before shopping at Whole Foods became trendy.
We were organic before it was hip and trendy.
I cut my teeth on Free to Be You And Me and Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and could probably sing any number of anti-war songs to you, songs you’ve probably never heard of, even after years of Britney Spears and bubble gum pop have melted my brain.
Of course, I am nothing like this. My favorite food is McDonald’s (I am also apparently trashy), I genuinely like music that has no deeper meaning than the same repetitive beats, and am over-archingly as shallow as pond scum (or is pond scum deep?). The more processed, pasteurized food-like substitutes, the better.
Now, 5 years ago, Ben was embroiled in many times weekly therapy for his autistic issues (hate of the term “problem”) and I was meeting fairly often with the Early Intervention coordinators. During one of those meetings it was brought up that Ben should be immediately enrolled in preschool. For Special Needs kids. It was through the state, and I considered it for awhile.
Daver and I came to the conclusion that we were going to look into preschools, but probably something more private than that. We ended up at a Montessori school in a nearby town built on several acres, and after we were accepted he enrolled at age three.
Turned out to be one of the smartest decisions we’ve ever made (save for the deep fryer we never bought. That was smarter. Can you imagine the mess?) and Ben thrived. Some of the issues we had with him were subdued to the point that it was barely perceptible to those not in the know about his diagnosis, and others were eliminated altogether.
(For anyone who didn’t know, I am now telling you the issues with food and more explicitly his peanut butter sandwich are directly related to his autism. NOT just being an asshole picky kid (that would have been me). So, sucking it up and dealing with it is not the same as taking a binkie away from a 4 year old.)
Ben stayed at that school for years, and until he reached the elementary years, we were thrilled by it. Suddenly, last year however, when we had to begin to pack his own lunch, it became glaringly apparent just how unlike the rest of the school our family was. We were now bubble gum pop versus the folk singers. Turns out my years of being raised as a hippie didn’t do much except for show me how little of my upbringing I’d retained.
Without so much as a note home to parents, it was expected that we were to psychically know what was Forbidden To Pack and what was not. I’d never have packed a Twinkie or a Ding Dong, a Kool Aid or a bag of Fritos, but THAT WASN’T ENOUGH. I mistakenly bought him some Milano cookies for his first day as a big old first grader, and he came home to inform me that he was told that he couldn’t eat them. By his teacher. In front of the class.
Which was MY fault, not Ben’s, yet he was literally cowering from the cookies (he has a high regard for authority, something his mother could stand to learn from). But the other parents were as crunchy granola people as my parent’s had been, so the issues were squarely my own to deal with. We just didn’t fit in there, not anymore.
Over and over, these situations happened, I’d pack something dumb, he’d pay for it. I’d try to contact the school only to be ignored. There is, of course, more to the story than I’m telling you, but for brevity’s sake, I’ll choose to be, well, briefer than normal.
The Nut Ban! was just the icing on the cake for us. It was just over. Time to move on.
Ben started his first day of public school today, complete with hot lunch program and peanut free TABLES at school, and while I’m thrilled that this will be such a good opportunity for him, I’m equally nervous. I hope we made the right decision.
(They totally had Capri-Sun on the hot lunch menu. I’m pumped.)