Since 2012, we have been prepping for this moment. The start of kindergarten.
Our goal has always been to help Logan start school totally mainstreamed, without an ASD diagnosis. We believed in him, and we believed with changes in our diet, supplemental therapies, and love and support, we’d do it. While we fell slightly short of our goal–Logan does still have an IEP that includes a few minutes of support time from a specialist visiting him in class–I’m actually realizing it’s a good thing the IEP is still there. This way, we have built-in measures should something suddenly change, and we have extra conferences with his teachers. And the more resources, the better, for any kid.
Logan was so ready. He’d visited his new school several times over the summer; he saw his new room, the library, the bathrooms, the cafeteria. He met the principal. He played on the playground. He wanted to start in August, forgoing his last weeks at daycare.
Yet despite all that, and despite how excited he said he was, I have a hunch he was pretty darn nervous. He woke up on the first day of school with a raw, chapped upper lip, from, I’m sure, sucking on chewing on it, which he doesn’t normally do. He’s also been stimming way more than usual, tracing invisible patterns in the air with his hands and gazing off into the distance.
But, brave kid that he is, he didn’t let nerves stop him. He gave me a big hug, a big smile, and hefted on his big backpack. I tried not to cry as I said watched him file into his room with 23 other eager, bubbly kids.
The tears came anyway. I was so proud of him.
A few hours later, the school’s number showed up on my cell phone. My heart sank.
“Logan’s having a great day,” his learning specialist reported. “But isn’t he on some sort of special diet?”
Yes, I gritted.
“I thought so. I saw him take a chocolate milk at snack time, though. He’s supposed to be sugar-free, right?”
“Yes. And dairy-free.”
And a dozen other things, I thought. And isn’t this in his IEP?
The slip might have an effect on his body, it might not. I don’t really mind that so much. The hardest part was hearing Logan’s tears–not angry, but sad, sorrowful tears–when I explained that it had been a mistake, that the school’s dairy did indeed contain casein.
“When I’m 6, can I drink chocolate milk?” he asked tearfully. “Maybe?”
I hugged him and kissed him. I melted Lily’s chocolate chips (dairy and sugar-free) in coconut oil and stirred it into a mug of quinoa milk. He slupped it down, smiling. “But,” he reminded me, “I still want real chocolate milk when I’m 6.”
I nodded. I know you do, sweetie.