I think we all survived Charlie's first day at big autism center. I know it'd be more accurate to write that he survived as he was the one there. But with the tight team o' three concept (I meant reality) very much in play, Jim and I both felt this change.Charlie got briefly, fiercely upset on waking up this morning. The feelings passed and Charlie cried, the heaving, heartbreaking cry. But then he stopped, lay on his bed for a few more minutes, got up and got himself dressed. He and Jim drove me to the train station and then headed for the center where a few snafus awaited them: Jim had been told on Friday that we could drop off Charlie at 8.30am. Monday morning, he was told, no. Our school district delivered the program books, some Legos, and the helmet while Jim and Charlie were waiting. We'd been trying and trying to get our school district to talk about fading out that blue plastic thing and they've been dodgy (that's putting it nicely) about addressing the situation. (While I don't want to waste any more energy criticizing the lack of, oh, humanity among the Powers That Be in our school district than I already have, I can only say that, once they got us all to assent to "Charlie being out," they pretty much stopped trying to do anything for Charlie, other than maintaining the already unacceptable status quo.) (Ok, 'nuff said on that.) Jim and Charlie had to wait a bit before the new teacher came (she and the aides had to get the other kids---5 others in Charlie's classroom---off the bus). I found it rather to the new teacher's and aides' and the center's behaviorist's credit that they didn't really know about putting the helmet on and off (may it be said, the behaviorist consulting with the public school autism program that Charlie was in was not inexperienced in helmets). The behaviorist called me around lunchtime to say that Charlie was having a "great" day. Charlie followed the routine with the rest of the class, did some Legos, "loved" going to music. (Apparently he played the piano with a book the music teacher had? It's been months and months since he practiced at home and he always needed only his specially formatted piano book.) Charlie didn't eat much (we had suspected he wouldn't). He had one instance of head-banging around 11.45am, when he went to the nurse, to have his weight and height and blood pressure checked. The nurse asked him to take off his fleece jacket and Charlie did not want to and started banging. But it all passed quickly and it was agreed, blood pressure can wait, and he could keep his jacket on. Over the phone I noted to the behaviorist that we don't insist that Charlie take his jacket off at home if he does not want to; it's nice blue fleece (bought my mom, of course) and I'm suspecting that is provides security and protection. (And, fleece is fleece.) Charlie's teacher and the behaviorist walked out with him; they were smiling and easy-going. Charlie looked a little wide-eyed (hardly without reason) and was pretty somber in the car till we got closer to home and saw some kids bearing backpacks on their way home after school, too. Jim came home early while Charlie was heating up fries for himself in the microwave and directing me to pour on the ketchup. He and Jim were out on their bikes by 4pm. A couple times each block, Charlie kept getting up the bike and pausing and then getting back on. He was peaceful throughout and they got back as the sun was setting. Later the three of us went for a 6.30pm grocery store run during which Charlie, not finding the type of sushi he likes best, was ok to leave sushiless, but with a box of powdery Popettes; Jim and I wandered the whole store to find lightbulbs (which were of course right across from the CapriSuns that we had first put in the basket); I finally had a successful experience using the self-checkout scanner. (It helped especially that Jim was there and I didn't have to get frustrated over my ineptitude at scanning barcodes while keeping an eye on Charlie.) Pecaeful and lowkey: It was, minus about 10 minutes in the morning and at 11.45am, that kind of day at home and at school. We can live with that. Preferably with piano music. And if played by Charlie----ok, one day at a time.