Suffice it to say, there were too many changes in one day, too much anxiety leading up to Friday, to the party that afternoon. Long story short, one of the things that put him over the edge was that they were having root-beer floats for the class party. I didn't know that till we were home that evening and talking.
"Hey hon, how'd the party go?" I asked, knowing my answer was going to be the shortest one possible....
"Well, did you eat something? Don't you usually have some kind of snack at these parties?" I knew it was a pretty safe question and one he can easily answer. It's a straight out fact, so he does OK.
"Mom, they had root-beer floats but I didn't have any. I was very disappointed in the teachers and the other students. They were drinking root-beer but I didn't have any. I didn't think you'd want me to have it. Mom, they were drinking beer," he whispered, like he was letting their secret out.
He was upset. He was near tears, exhausted and worn out. He didn't have a meltdown, he just was defeated, confused.
After a long day, this is what broke me---seeing him that exhausted, the literal thinking and all the anxiety that came with misunderstanding. He thought it was real beer. No one told him, they just assumed he knew....now I'm not assigning blame or fault. I don't think there is any. Alex is not one to articulate much so I suspect he kept it to himself and when they asked if he wanted any, he just declined.
I did send in a note to school letting them know what happened and later that night, I explained what root-beer was and how it's good with ice cream. That it's really not beer and its OK to drink.
We settled in for the weekend, stuck to our routine and slowly things turned around. We watched the rain fall, watched the lightening and counted till we heard thunder and made a few of his favorite meals.
And later I asked, "Hey, do you want to try a root-beer float?" He looked at me, flashed a smile and said, "Ugggh, mom, you know I don't like carbonation. It makes me throw up."
This time? He knew what root-beer was.
Note: Today is Alex's birthday, he will be nine. I can't believe how fast time has gone! I'm going to be busy making brownies with chocolate icing, hanging the Happy Birthday sign but no streamers and wrapping the exact Lego's he's wanted, and seen, so there will be no surprises. Hopefully, it will be exactly the way he wants it.