So of course, after a week of momentous firsts! and progress! and nostalgic amazement over ALL THE THINGS, we were due for a crash.
There was an incident on the school bus on Wednesday, which I heard nothing about until Thursday, when I stepped outside to take Ike to preschool, only to find another mom from the neighborhood awkwardly waiting to talk to me. Because um, your kid punched mine. Could he...not?
/head explodes all over the driveway
There's a particularly brutal flavor of shame/guilt that comes from finding out your child did something just plain wrong, something he knows better than to do, and then a weird reflexive circle-jerk of searching for excuses or alternate interpretations or reasons why THIS IS ALL JUST ONE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING.
And after talking with Noah, there's still a small, petulant part of me that feels like it WAS, as he seemed completely clueless/stunned that the other kid was upset or even bothered, it was part of a game, not really a "punch" at all, the bus driver didn't even notice anything, etc. But he was likewise completely clueless to the fact that he's much BIGGER than the other kid, so any sort of physical contact could potentially be scary, at the very least definitely annoying, and it's beyond inappropriate and NOT OKAY for him to put his hands on someone, no matter what the initial/perceived slight/offense, come on man, I really thought we had basics like this DOWN.
The school called me later. Two-day suspension from the bus, then negotiated down to one day, with spending lunch in the assistant principal's office on day two to discuss the incident and bus rules and some social cues/personal space stuff. Which, yeah, he got that because we have an IEP and an Autism diagnosis, brought up in that lovely/awkward "look I'm definitely not making EXCUSES for inexcusable behavior, BUT..." sort of way.
(I think the lunch will actually have a much bigger impact than the suspension, which Noah correctly pointed out is really more of a burden on me than him. The assistant principal is a super nice lady who I predict Noah will love/bond with in that quirky way he does, and from then on not letting her down/making her proud will become a Major Life Goal for the rest of the school year.)
Ebb and flow. Give and take. I'm making him write a note of apology to both the kid and his mom and I don't know. Should I send some leftover birthday cake? Bake a whole new one? Simply retreat into the Yellow House like Miss Havisham and never speak to anyone in the neighborhood again? I don't know how these things work.
It is a really good cake, and Noah is really very sorry.