Jamie Lee is now in her first year of high school and my nerves are shot to shit. I thought her major problem would be social interaction. Evidently, it's organisation, which you wouldn't expect to be the worst thing, but it's exasperating! Turns out that aspergers and adolescence do not make a very productive combination, quelle suprise!
Jamie has a big school bag and a smaller one. She piles all her shit up and decides which one she'll use for the following day, chucks in everything she thinks she'll need from memory (because she's lost her timetable again) and the rest is casually flung back in her drawer /on the shelf / under the desk. She rarely knows where her planner is and if she can lay her hands on a full PE kit, it's nothing short of a miracle.
I have dreaded this for many years because of Jamie's aspergers. I actually thought this would be one of the most difficult transitions she would ever have to make in her life, and it has been a major adjustment for her. But I really should have known from Jamie's attitude to certain things, that getting her to give a major crap about anything as boring as lesson planning and homework was asking far too much.
A typical school morning...
"Jamie, what are you wearing under your shirt?"
"It's cold." That's the only answer I'm going to get, but I can see through her white shirt that she is wearing her nightie underneath.
"Go and change please, put a clean top on underneath your shirt if you're cold."
"This one's already warm"
"Yes, because it's your nightie and you have slept in it, PLEASE GO AND CHANGE". Grit teeth, hold breath, count to ten...
She actually has me questioning if I'm the one who's going mental. She has this look that she gives me whenever I ask her what she considers to be a stupid question. You know, like; Where is your other shoe? Have you done your homework? Why are you wearing odd psychadelic socks for school? Have you cleaned your teeth/brushed your hair? It's kind of a blank glare, but she's clearly thinking that I'm some kind of mental, paranoid, overbearing, schizophrenic mother. And of course, the realization that she really doesn't give a toss makes me become the mental, paranoid, overbearing, schizophrenic mother.
"Jamie, do you WANT to get another detention?"
Blank look, not arsed.
"You CANNOT wear odd shoes to school!"
Blank look, not arsed
"Darling, if you don't clean your teeth, your breath will stink." (I gave up on the healthy argument eons ago, if the results of threat / reward aren't imminent it's even more impossible to get her to give a shit).
Blank look, licks teeth with tongue, this is sufficient.
"Jamie, please, for the sake of your mother's sanity will you brush your hair?"
Rolls eyes, token gesture of brushing hair for aproximately thirty seconds before putting a bobble in it. She looks like she's slept in a hedge. With a family of sparrows. I'm losing the will to live.
She puts clean clothes back in her washing basket because she can't be arsed to put them away. Then, come Monday morning, she doesn't have a clean jumper. Rather than ask me (because she knows I'll say that she HAS a clean jumper, because I gave her clean uniform the day before), she'll wander round upstairs in her underwear for half an hour till it's nearly time to leave, before rumaging through her dirty wash basket looking for last week's school uniform, or indeed the clean one she's been given that now stinks of dirty washing.
The first time she was given detention for failing to hand homework in on time she was mortified. She was genuinely embarrassed and upset. That reaction lasted the first two or three detentions, now she doesn't bat an eyelid, which is what I knew would happen. Incidentally, she does do the homework, with me breathing down her neck, but then she loses the homework or forgets to hand it in. I got her into a routine of going to homework club, I was really proud of her, and me, for handling the new challenges of high school in a responsible manor. Turns out, half the evenings I thought she was at homework club, she was in detention for not handing her bloody homework in. Her answer to this..."Mum, Chill out will you!" Er, NO!
The school have been brilliant. They've rallied around, worked with us to try and help in whatever areas they can. It's an ongoing process, as is everything with a kid like Jamie. She's loving high school. She has grown up so much even in the few months she has been there, and she seems to have renewed enthusiasm for things. Academically, there's no doubt she was ready for this next stage in her school life, but in other areas, well... we're keeping at it...