Mama, What’s the funniest reason you’ve been called in to school?

Mama, What’s the funniest reason you’ve been called in to school?

My daughter is autistic and functionally nonverbal until recently. She uses words and language, just for her own amusement, not communication. She has a few phrases now to get her needs met, at 8 years old.

One day early in her first-grade year, I got a call from the school saying I needed to come as soon as possible, as my daughter was screaming and crying for me. I live close to the school and don’t have an outside job, so it was easy enough for me to drop what I was doing and hurry to school. I was a little confused because she never asks for me, or anyone else, even when she wants someone.

When I got there, she was playing with some sort of dollhouse and dolls, and screaming “Mama! Mama!” at the top of her lungs, and making howling, keening sobs.

I went in and talked to the understandably upset and concerned staff. Every time they tried to approach her, she told them, “nooooooo! My baby! Mama!”

I had an inkling of what was going on, then. I went to her and sat down nearby until she noticed me. She gave me the side eye. Then I went back to yelling.

“Can the baby cry quietly?” I asked. She looked at me, considered for a moment, and started whispering the words she had been yelling. She giggled, put the baby doll in its crib, picked up the mama doll and said, “Shush shush baby.” She then turned to me and said, “Go away Mommy.” Her usual form of dismissal when she was busy playing a game she didn’t want to quit.

I stuck around in the hallway for a bit to make sure Baby stayed quiet, then headed for home. The teacher apologized, but I assured her that I didn’t really mind, since my girl can be, well, dramatic in her play, and while I had written this in her documents, it was another thing to see it (and hear it) in person. And my name, was, of course, mommy, not mama.

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