March 18, 2010. I’m accosted again today at parent pick-up. This time by a middle aged woman who has appointed herself Peter’s protector and guardian. I’m really considering putting the kids on the bus. That way, at least, I wouldn’t have to dodge insults and poorly disguised accusations by certain members of Peter’s special education “team” as I try to corral my children and their belongings toward the car. Today’s guest appearance is the school psychologist, a woman with no children of her own, and apparently no familiarity whatsoever with either FAS or attachment issues. She has been second-guessing our parenting decisions (thus the reference to having no children) and criticizing our choices regarding our son’s educational program since we had the pleasure of meeting in late 2007. When we entered the world of special education, I had no idea we’d be opening our home, our values, our every decision to suspicion and judgment by educators who have never stepped inside our house, who don’t know us outside of school, and who have no business interfering with the privacy of our parenting choices. Today’s accusation revolves around the fact that Peter peed in class this morning. For the last few weeks, since the urologist confirmed no physical problem, and with her blessing, we have been giving Peter a consequence when he wets during the day. Essentially, he needs to pay for his own daytime diapers. If he goes through his $2.00/week allowance, he does chores to earn the money. We’ve been having him do everything from sweeping the mudroom floor to picking up dog poop in the yard now that the snow’s melted. The dog poop chore is naturally the least preferred, and not shockingly, has had the greatest effect. He’s been dry three days in a row (for two consecutive times) when he’s had to do this. When he stays dry, he earns time on his DS, the Wii or he can watch TV. It’s working. He’s been dry more days in the last few weeks than he’s been in the last six months. But the ever vigilant school psychologist needs to inform me this afternoon that Peter is devastated by his latest accident, so much so that she had to have a “double session” with him. Now I love my son, and I also know him. When he finds sympathy in the path of one of his missteps, he grabs hold as tightly as a tick on a dog. While the other parents file out she informs me that she knows about the poop chore and that she can’t help but question the wisdom and compassion of our approach. “You have one devastated, sad little boy who is afraid, ashamed, and mortified of what’s going to happen to him. You can’t think this is helping.” The reality is we hate making Peter do this but it’s next to impossible to get him to accept responsibility for his decisions unless the consequence is something he truly loathes. At dinner, Peter tells us that this woman (oh how I want to use her name!) said that he must feel like we’re “beating him” when we make him do chores for wetting. Yes, that’s right. Beating him. I know Peter makes things up, and its possible she didn’t say these exact words, but she said something close enough – she just about said as much to my face this afternoon. How can we possibly deal with Peter’s attachment issues, the stealing, destruction, toileting misuse, and aggressiveness, when people at school are reinforcing for him that we are bad, that we are hurting him, and that he shouldn’t trust us? This woman isn’t just interfering with our ability to heal and parent our son, she’s actively sabotaging our efforts. She has no right! She refuses to even consider that we have well-considered reasons for making some of the tough decisions we’ve made. We’re trying to make Peter understand cause and effect, action and consequence, and assume at least an iota of personal accountability. Maybe its time Pat and I start interjecting ourselves into certain “team” members’ private lives. I must admit, the thought does make me smile.