I have written in the past about Thorin’s propensity to take things that are not his property. If I wasn’t his mother I might even say, “He steals shit.” (Read Our son the klepto)
With all the distractions of Thorin starting kindergarten this fall it was difficult to remember all his needs and little idiosyncrasies.
What with a new teacher, an ed tech to assist him, a new physical therapist, a new speech therapist, a new occupational therapist plus 22 new classmates. And he is also in the city’s recreation program before school with three staff members and 34 other children.
My biggest concern was leaving him in a new environment where so many more things could go wrong. He had been potty trained two weeks before he started, he is not understood when he talks and he likes to wander. Seriously, you could turn your back and the next thing you know he could have joined a traveling craps game. He’s sly like that. (He wanders because he is a kid not because he is a kid with Ds. My sister and brother were wanders. Twice my brother was found on the elementary school roof.)
A couple weeks in to school starting Thorin became known as “the hitter” in his class (also “the scratcher” and “the screamer” but thankfully just in the rec program). Imagine you understand about 80% of what you hear and you are not understood by anyone outside of your home. Imagine you cannot connect to the world verbally. Then imagine how the world views you.
I said as much to the school personnel. I also said, “Look, he is the (literally) the smallest kid in the school. How much can he be hurting these (crybaby) kids?” In hindsight, I realize Charles Manson’s mother probably said similar things about her pint-sized son.
We enlisted the help of Amanda-the-Amazing-Pee-Whisper and her co-worker Doctor.-Emily-the-Believer-in-Thorin. We have help. Everyone is on-board. Thorin must be understood.
So, it’s not surprising in the midst of all this we missed the fact he was stealing the school blind.
I think it was about week two when he came home with a red sweatshirt that was not his. My first thought was, “What the Hell?! They didn’t think I dressed him in enough layers? They put something else on him?” I am reactionary and emotional like that. It’s really pleasant to be around me.
This went on for weeks. On a daily basis I was pulling clothes out of his backpack and returning them the next day. I was feeling totally judged by what I was perceiving as their judgments of what Thorin needed during the day – (extra) hats, (extra) gloves and (really big) sweaters. I was a little confused when I found a pink, frilly top in his backpack. “Why on earth do they think he needs that?!” But, I was so overwhelmed it didn’t register to me that I should talk to the teacher.
Ward finally figured it out when he picked him up from school one day. Thorin was trying to cram a sweater into his backpack. Ward recognized it wasn’t his. The the flash! The epiphany! The sickening realization. Thorin was stealing (still)!
Ward asked, “Have you been taking things that aren’t yours?”
“Yes!” (He’s a positive little guy.)
Holy crap! How to tell “them” that “the hitter, scratcher, screamer” was also “a klepto”? The next day when I explained what had been going on they took it fairly well. They shared some insights they found puzzling over the weeks. One, Thorin always seemed to be pulling things out of the ‘lost and found’ box in the hallway. Two, every stray item of clothing found – he insisted was his. Sure, that they understand.
That day they also said something I found unable to respond to:
“It would have been nice to know that.”
And now? In spite of being found out he is still taking things quite successfully.