1. I was homeschooled. Many psychologists want you to believe I lack socialization skills. I don’t. But I do lack whatever it is that finds attaching grown-up relationship statuses to children as comical or endearing or cute. Please don’t say Adelaide has a boyfriend. Don’t pretend that she has one, just because she smiles at a boy in her class. It creeps me out. She can have a boyfriend when she graduates high school. Which, ironically, is your job. And mine. And hers.
2. We aren’t sure exactly why she does it, but she tries to eat her own poop. Every single day. Without fail. It’s one of the worst things about her neurodisability. We already discussed keeping her safe during diaper changes. But I’m throwing this out there: Please do not let Adelaide eat her own poop. Or anyone else’s. Or anything else’s. She’s fast. Deceptively quick.
3. I have no expectations about hairbows, shoes, or socks staying on all day. Or even ten minutes. I will send changes of clothes, because my heavy wetter often gets compression leaks and ends up with little pee spots on her Kardashian booty. No judgement from me if pick-up time presents a crazy-haired, shoeless Joe eating the sleeves of a mismatched outfit. My only request: Please make sure those socks end up in her bag. They don’t look like much, but her orthotics require special socks. Which we can only order online. With the tears of virgin unicorns.
4. Do you remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Adelaide won’t work if she even thinks she’s hungry. Not for one second. Is she actually hungry? I don’t know. But for the price of a few Cheerios, she will stay on task long enough to make all these IEP meetings worth it. Please feed Adelaide the snacks I send. All of them. This is actually for your own safety. A hungry Adelaide is somehow apathetic and filled with hatred. Like a tiny Franz Kafka…
5. I am a Creationist. I believe in a young earth, 6 literal days of Creation, Genesis 1:1, and the whole 9 yards. I am well-versed in Creation Science and read scholarly publications for fun. If you want to talk about dinosaurs, be my guest. But don’t teach my daughter that birds evolved from flying dinosaurs. Don’t teach her that dinosaurs and man didn’t coexist. And don’t you dare teach her about molecules-to-man evolution. Please do not teach theories as truth to my Adelaide. She’s in preschool. She doesn’t need to learn the Origin of Man religion with Priest Darwin at the helm. Stick to trochaic tetramater catalectic nursery rhymes about a certain bridge in London needing major repair.
6. I know you work so hard. So much harder than I can even imagine. With fewer resources than you require. I never taught littles in a public school. My students were older. I don’t always know what you need. Please tell me how I can partner with you. Supplies? Sonic? Cider (of the hard variety)? I want to help past dropping off gigantic containers of generic Lysol wipes. But you’ll need to tell me what you need. Because I am truly the Emma Woodhouse of Special Education Preschool. I need assistance figuring out the difference between helpful and nuisance. School me in the art of adaptive crayons and being a supportive parent.
7. I’m new to this. Adelaide has been home with me for 1393 days. I don’t regret a moment. Experiencing all the highs and lows. Please be gentle when you tell me about new milestones. I will probably be holding back tears and pretending I’m allergic to those generic Lysol wipes. I have rarely missed anything, let alone a milestone. I have photographed and recorded and cheered. I am not yet sure how I will do this, but I know it will be bittersweet. You will teach my darling girl. But I’ll be learning, too.
8. You have a family. Children. Household chores. Hobbies. Grocery shopping. I don’t expect an email before you head home at night. Or in the middle of the night. I don’t want you burning the candle at both ends. My expectations are pretty low. I know yours are extremely high. Please walk in grace. I don’t expect you to be Mr. Grouper. Actually, you are already better than him. He doesn’t even make lesson plans. Just waits for a guppy to swim in and give him a topic for the day. I know you love Adelaide and want her to be her absolute best. But there are no unrealistic expectations on my part. As long as you teach her Neapolitan Myth & Religion and Graph Theory. Just teasing. Let’s focus on the whole poop-eating thing…