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He’s doing well. Kindergarten, as far as we can tell, is a hit.

He’s still not potty trained, but I’m done stressing out about it. He’ll learn when he’s ready.

He’s doing so well that sometimes, like yesterday, I forget.

Last week, I had an evening event, so he went with his dad and sister to her gymnastics class. It’s loud and echoey in the warehouse/gym, something that triggers sensory fits and repetitive vocalizations.

So when they were going this week, I didn’t think to tell him in the morning that he would be staying home with me. I figured he’d prefer it.

WRONG.

We picked him up from school, and he was all ready to eat his dinner at gymnastics (a solution when we don’t have time to go home and eat). Problem was, we didn’t pack him anything, and time is tight on Wednesday nights. We’d have just enough time to get dropped off before they needed to head out. Definitely not enough time to pack him dinner.

We explained.

It was too late.

The loudest, most explosive fit you can imagine ensued. I thought he was going to break the front car seat, he was kicking it so hard.

When we got home, instead of getting out of the van, he ran into the back seat, still sobbing uncontrollably.

I had to drag him out by his arm and carry his nearly 60 pounds of flailing flesh into the house.

I put him in our room, his time-out spot. I left, hoping a little alone time would help, but he started banging his head, kicking at the door, absolutely beside himself. He couldn’t make it stop.

I wanted to hold him, make it go away, but I know better. At times like this, I have to wait for him to come to me.

So I sat patiently on the edge of the bed. Every few minutes I asked him if he wanted to come up.

After a while, when there were pauses in the storm, he’d look at me for a moment, considering it.

Then, suddenly, he was there, next to me. He pulled up his shirt and grabbed my hand. I made little tracks on his back, my tears falling onto his smooth, white skin.

We lay there like that for a while, him adjusting when a new spot needed rubbing, me trying to wipe my face before I got him wet and muttering, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

As well as things are going in so many ways, there’s always a slap in the face to remind me that it’s still here.

It’s not going anywhere.

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Autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, developmental delay, vocal and facial tics.

Scared little boy.

Teachers line the path, waving clappers. Music booms from a tiny stereo. Kids in new clothes with stiff backpacks, grins eating their faces, rush off their bus and scamper through the chaos, toward the building.

The principal sees him, the last to exit. It’s his first day as a student there, but she already knows him. His sister, a second-grader, is gently leading him toward the noise.

The principal is trying, too, but he doesn’t seem to hear her. His shiny new light-up shoes scuff the pavement.

His eyes are wide as silver dollars, and he doesn’t yet see us waiting for him at the end of the sidewalk. We knew the transition was going to be overwhelming, but he wanted to take the bus.

So we walk toward him. Hands rest softly on his back, sweeping him through the line. The teachers know. They tone down his welcome but still manage to offer a “Happy first day of school!” to his sister.

His sister, a star student, drops her things in her locker, kisses me goodbye and struts into her new classroom. Most of her friends from last year are in a different class, but she knows there are more to be made.

His classroom. A girl hugs the teacher. He stumbles in, eyes fixated on the bright blue alphabet rug.

His dad guides him toward a table where a gaggle of little boys, all a head shorter than he, my blond viking boy, are fishing rubber insects out of a clear tub.

They line them up, name them, hold them up to each other’s and growl. He stands, nakedly fearful, behind them.

I grab a two-inch specimen.

“Do you know what this is?” I ask, sing-songy, desperate to soothe him.

“It’s a fly?” he says, looking up at his dad for approval.

I do the same with a dragonfly. Both end up back on the table. He won’t join the children, who glance at him periodically, noticing his size, I’m sure, but probably also his Difference.

His dad pets the spot between his thumb and forefinger, trying to smooth out the anxiety.

“It’s time to grab a book, children! Pick one from the bin and sit down on the rug!”

He looks up at us, saucer-eyed. We smile. “Go ahead, honey. You can do it.”

And he does.