Square Pig

“You can’t fit a square pig into a round hole.”

I remember when I was a young child, our pastor used this phrase frequently in his sermons. I was so confused, imagining this cartoon-like cube-shaped pig. I had many questions. Why was it shaped like a square? Why would you want to put it into a hole? I would picture this poor sad little piggie sitting in a hole in the ground hoping someone would come by and rescue him.

At some point I realized the expression is, “You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole.” This still didn’t clear things up for me. Of course you can, if the peg is small enough, or the hole large enough. But with time I better understood the sentiment behind the phrase.

My son is on the spectrum, and struggles with anxiety and attention deficit. Has a lot of big ideas he wants to share the moment they pop into his head (regardless of setting), and a little bit of a stammer (that we’ve seen improve over time). He’s also super-duper smart, creative, affectionate, and funny.

He is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education under the IDEA law. His Individualized Education Plan (IEP) states that he will receive instruction in a mainstream classroom, with support resources. He is currently enrolled in the grooviest, spectrum-friendliest public charter school for miles around. The staff are kind and compassionate. He is still miserable, failing to stay focused in class, failing to complete assignments, feeling as though he doesn’t really have any friends. I feel heartbroken and worried for him all the time. But I also think, maybe my little square pig is just not ever going to fit into a round hole, even a very lovely and groovy one. Maybe it is not his failing of work habits, or our failing as parents, but just a reality.

We’re committed to finishing this year of 8th grade, and this is the final grade for this school. We don’t yet know where he will attend high school, but it looks fairly likely he will homeschool. It’s not my preferred route, and honestly I highly resent that with the income and property taxes I pay, I still have to invest further time and money into educating my special needs child at home. But I am very fortunate and privileged to have a secure job working from home on a flexible schedule. So it can be done.

When he was in pre-school, he had a picture of me holding him, slipped into a clear luggage tag and clipped to his belt loop. Looking at it seemed to help with some anxiety behaviors, or at least, he liked taking it with him every day. This morning I hugged and kissed on him and rubbed his back and tried to fill him up with my love, hoping he would hold that inside him and feel it whenever he felt frustrated or anxious. He still walked out the door looking like he was headed to the gallows. 😦

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