7:41 a.m. The principal calls to tell me that Peter is in her office after threatening to shoot his teachers.
I become silent except for an audible sigh carrying through the receiver. The principal asks if I'm still on the line. Each time an administrator or teacher calls, I'm shaken loose from my numb existence into a reality I wish wasn't true. The principal tells me that threatening others is a suspendable offense, but she'll keep him in her office for a bit, certain he'd learned a lesson.
This was the second time that Peter had seen the principal this school year, just now into its third week. On Friday, his teacher called to tell me she'd taken Peter to the principal's office when he became angry and frustrated during reading group. And then she told me he reads at a kindergarten level. That issue now secondary to his violent threats.
I had trouble getting Peter off to school this morning, after he'd discovered that half of his pint of raspberry sorbet had been eaten. All signs pointed to him- a spoon with sticky residue underneath his bed and a pink smear on his wooden bed frame. Still he blamed everyone else who denied eating any. That rage carried over to school.
Peter has been obsessed with guns and war since preschool. He draws pictures about it, chooses military books from the library, and hoards his arsenal of Nerf guns. Nothing can deter his fascination. And scariest of all is that one day he'll be able to buy the weapons he talks about now. Just this morning he asked me to buy him a BB gun. I still can't believe that parents actually buy those as "toys."
News of the Newtown, CT school shooting was a tragedy that resonated in me like an alarming wake-up call. So, too, was this essay entitled I am Adam Lanza's Mother. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html
I cried the first time I read it, and each time after, because I could very well be the author or be buried at the hands of my son. Peter calls me a bitch, tells me to go to hell, pulls out knives, and threatens to run in the street to kill himself. For now, I'm able to physically control him. He's seven. I'm afraid that one day I won't have the strength to.
So the next time I hear that I should be happy that I don't have to deal with a child on the spectrum who's nonverbal and needs help eating and dressing, realize that my fears could mean life or death.