Parents everywhere are inevitably anxious for school to end by the first of May. Parents of kids with ADHD and learning disabilities get a jump on this. I don’t know about you, but my desire to reach the end of a school year starts in [more…] November, about a month after the honeymoon period ends. By mid-November, I’m counting down the days until Thanksgiving break. By early December, I’m holding my breath in anticipation of the holiday hiatus. It keeps going downhill until I reach a point of no return, begging the universe to have mercy on us and speed up time until we reach the last day of school. That usually starts in March.

Please, please! Let his days go smoothly. 

Please, PLEASE! Don’t make me go to another IEP meeting.

Come on! PLEASE don’t make me try to explain my special kid to school staff one. more. time. 

Now it’s almost the end of May. I’ve been begging and pleading for more than two months, but my cries can’t be answered. What I want is for my son to have a smooth day like a neurotypical kid, to not have any homework, to be okay with going to school. There’s no magic though, so my son will continue to struggle — and I too, by extension.

I’ve actually resorted to paying my son, Ricochet, to complete fifth grade. Yea, you read that right.

Monday Ricoceht didn’t want to go to school… again. He begged me to let him stay home “just this once.” The problem was that it wasn’t just this once though — a rough school year meant he’d already been absent the 14 days the school district allows before mandatory summer school.

“Just twelve more days, Buddy,” I plead as we sat in my car in the school parking lot.

“I don’t care!” he fired back.

“But you made it through 173 days already, just twelve more and you’ll be finished. You’ll be a sixth grader,” I reminded him. “Besides, today’s field day — it’s gonna be a fun day!”

I tried to exude enthusiasm. Ricochet wasn’t buying it.

“What if my friends aren’t at school today? One was absent yesterday and the other went home early,” he said. Worry was written all over his furrowed brow.

It was at that moment that I realized he was upset and resisting school because the last few weeks are unpredictable. There’s field day, award ceremonies, End-of-Grade testing, and more that all throw the predictable schedule out the window. Routine is the glue that holds this kid (somewhat) together. Without that, he’s like a tiny fish in a big pond who doesn’t know how to swim. The anxiety that causes sends him into a tailspin.

Monday morning I was pretty desperate to get him into school. There was no way summer school would be anything short of a nuclear meltdown, and PTSD from other recent school refusal battles was ramping up my own hair-trigger anxiety. So, I offered to pay him for the remaining twelve days of school — $1 per day for each day he doesn’t complain about going to school and hops out of the car at the curb on his own.

Was it the right parenting choice? Probably not. But I need to end the madness. I am frustrated, frazzled, and downright exhausted. I’m counting down each and every day until the end of the school year, too. $12 seemed a small sum to pay to try to hold on to my very last strand of sanity until the end.

Ten days and counting…