Peaches sort of washed out of Middle School.
You remember how I was writing about how much pressure there was to put her in Band? Well, it gets better.
Peaches really was ready for Middle School...or at least she thought she was. I'm pretty sure this happens to a lot of kids. They really want to grow up, they're tired of elementary school...after all, they may have been in the same school from the time they were in kindergarten...and they're ready to move on. But this whole business of ringing bells and lockers and home room and going from class to class, well, it was just too much for her. Part of it was that the academics were just too fast paced for her, but I got the feeling she was having too much trouble just coping with the chaos to learn anything at all. One day she told me that she spent most of the day clutching her desk trying not to jump up and bolt out of the room. As the school year moved into October, we started to notice a light going out behind her eyes. It made me very sad.
Fortunately, I heard of a small private school that was too good to be true. It wasn't far away, it was reasonably inexpensive, and it was designed for kids with learning differences. It was a tiny, funky little school full of nutty kids who just don't fit in anywhere else. I met with the director, who looked like a fifty year old version of what I imagine Peaches will be someday. I knew it was just the place for her. We enrolled her the week after Thanksgiving, which is how we met Aaron.
Aaron started at the Academy the same week that Peaches did, and he doesn't live far from us. He has a severe case of Aspergers Syndrome and was being bullied so badly at his Middle School that his parents had to sue the district just to get him out. Aaron's two siblings also have Aspergers and will probably end up at the same school, which makes me very glad I only have one kid. His mom is totally amazing. She has the best sense of humor about her kids and I think she never really stops, even though she works full time at a very demanding job. Their dad is pretty cool as well, but I think he's got Aspergers as well, and he just lets everything roll off his back.
Anyway, Aaron's mom was really worried because she has to be at work early in the morning and the Academy doesn't have any busses. When we met we figured out that we meshed perfectly for a carpool: we can take the kids in the morning, and she gets them home in the afternoon. It works incredibly well and we've become good friends.
I'm not going to write much about Aspergers here. If you don't know what it is you can Google it, and besides, Peaches isn't an Aspie herself, she just seems to get along really well with Aspie kids. So I thought I'd write about Aaron a little bit, because he's a scream.
The first time I met Aaron, he got in the car while we were listening to the radio.
"Hmmm", he said, "This is a pretty good song. I like this song, but I'm not really a music buff. What I really like are planes. Specifically, World War II fighter planes. I can name every single aircraft that flew during World War II."
"But I'm not going to do it because my mom says that it really annoys people".
"What's so funny? I don't really think I'm funny. I don't really have a sense of humor. I don't really get jokes."
So Peaches, from the front seat, manages to get a word in:
"I know a joke. Actually I know two jokes." (I'd put the jokes she told here, but this was a while ago and I don't actually remember which ones they are).
Aaron paused for a moment.
"Hmmmm. Those are...literal jokes. Right?"
Poor kid. I think Peaches and I have more fun during that drive than he does. I'm really going to miss him next year. I hope his mom finds a new carpool buddy.
p.s. Peaches is learning like crazy at this school. I hope we find one like it in California.