So on the first day of school, my eldest got lost at lunchtime. He didn't come back to his classroom. Fortunately, he hadn't left the school grounds: the alert was raised that he hadn't responded to the bell and the headteacher, deputy head and groundsman started looking for him. "It was a bad ten minutes," the deputy head said to me cheerfully. The groundsman spotted him trying to get into a shed in a distant part of the grounds.
"You know the good news?" Mr Cumulus said to me on the phone when I told him. "They told you."
He's right, of course: we have had similar episodes at English schools which have been brushed off or covered up by staff. His class teacher was, however, delighted with him. Apparently when she gave the class a warning not to waste paper he piped up with a little lecture about why exactly that was, what happened to trees if you did that...it went on for some time (I imagine she may grow less fond of these spiels if they occur too often) and another boy asked the teacher "Is he a genius?" Hopefully they are all still young enough that this does not spell death to his street-cred. To my delight (and astonishment), he has already been assigned a TA: for half an hour a day at the beginning of lessons, to do some social stories and explain to him anything unusual that is going to happen during the day. The fabled Ministry are also involved, after school rang them and told them that from my description it sounded as if he fitted the category of moderate needs. They are meeting us next week to discuss what extra help he may need.
On the way home - I decided to walk, it is only down the road, about a ten-fifteen minute walk although most of it uphill - he started complaining of pain in his foot. It was hot. I was tired and pushing a very heavy double SN buggy. No, you can't have a ride, I said snappily, you have GOT to walk. Come on, keep going, at home there's cake. But oddly for what looked like classic whingy-child-syndrome, the promise of cake didn't work. He whinged and moaned, got another ten metres and then collapsed at the top of our driveway complaining that it was too sore. When I challenged him to get down the long driveway anyway - yes, I am cruel, I didn't want the extra weight in the buggy - he started to shuffle, crying, on his bottom. Oops, Mother-FAIL, it WAS referred pain caused by the Perthes disease temporarily incapacitating him, and not just a whingy child who didn't fancy a walk home. Well, how am I to know?
So tomorrow I shall have to ask school to ensure that he plays gently, no jumping, climbing frames etc. On the one hand, what a nuisance. On the other hand, they are getting a fairly good flavour of why this is a child who might need extra support from time to time.