Saturday, August 7, 2010

Part 13 of "Miracle Boy”

In second grade I begin having bathroom troubles at school again. I've become too heavy for my teacher to lift onto the toilet. So one day my parents present me with a urinal bottle to carry every day in a canvas sack hung on the back of my chair.

I'm unsure about this—I'm afraid some kids will tease me when they see it—but I must admit it should do the trick. (I never make doody during the school day; only at home, when I get changed for bed.)

The portable urinal is the latest step in working out the logistics of my attending a regular school, another "reasonable accommodation" my parents devise, decades before that term becomes a point of law.

But there's one more complication. This time, instead of a code, Mom sets it up for my new teacher to take me to the bathroom every day after lunch, whether I ask or not. At home I'm already going to the toilet on a set schedule, and it eases the burden of having to ask, so I accept.

My life at age seven is highly regimented. When I'm set up at the table with crayons and paper, I know I must have everything within reach, everything I'll need for as long as possible, so I won't have to ask busy parents for extra help. They're kind, but can't always be at my beck and call. Where other seven-year-olds might choose clothes for themselves and change their minds two or three times, I'm still dressed by my parents and have to select outfits they'll accept—outfits I can stick with, too, because it's too much trouble to change my mind. There's no surprising my parents! What's more, my entire wardrobe is memorized so I can name clothes without looking in my drawers. I'm dressed in bed, before getting to my chair, and it's impossible to see into my drawers from there.

Inevitably, a certain rigidity settles into my life. Spontaneity becomes a forbidden luxury, even spontaneity in peeing. In fact, my life soon feels overrun with orderliness and rationed efforts.

[Stay tuned!]

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