I will try to make this part short, as I know this story is dragging on. K11 woke up the next day with a migraine. Of course, S had made many plans during the day: St. Paul - Children's Museum and other things. She seemed actually quite peeved about K11's headache, like the migraine was planned or something. By now, K7 had made her new best friend, S, so the two of them went to the Children's Museum together while I stayed with K11. She did her usually vomitting bit and then slept for about four hours. By then, she was feeling well enough to go somewhere, not perfect, but she did not want to miss out. So I called S to come and get us.
That day was the turning point in S's behaviour. She treated K7 like a princess and K11 like snot. And this is a teacher I'm talking about. Never in the year I had taught with her had I ever heard her talk to a child this way, even the ones who misbehaved. Actually, she had always had a way with the misbehaved kids or the slow learners; in our class those were the kids she gave most of the attention to. K11 still was not feeling up to par, and S kept insisting that she figure out the tip at dinner. K11 started crying, looking at me for support. I politely asked S to "cool it", reinforcing the fact that K11 was recuperating from a migraine, and had not gotten to decimals or percents yet in math. Why was it so important to S that K11 figure out the tip? Did every meal have to be a math lesson? K11 was on vacation for crying out loud. These were the things I was saying to myself in my head. And, yes, I was giving K11 special attention because S was paying NO ATTENTION to her whatsoever and making her feel like shit. I do remember calling my ex several times telling him about S's behaviour, and he kept telling me to be K11's buddy since obviously K7 had a new buddy.
That night, K7 was bringing in a shirt or something on a hanger from the laundry room, and she motioned to K11 to take it from her. K11 obviously didn't notice her and did not turn around to take the shirt, walking into the apt empty-handed. Now, remember I said we have suspected that she has some Asperger symptoms? This has always been an issue with K11. She could see me standing in front of the door with a pile of groceries in my hand, my purse, balancing a drink, and she would never offer to take something from me. She has never seemed to pick up on that visual cue. But if I say, "Hey, these things are heavy," or "I can't manage to get the key in the hole," she would immediately volunteer to take something out of my hand.
Well, anyway, when K11 did not take the shirt, S went ballistic, I mean ballistic! I told the girls to wait in the apt while I followed S back downstairs to the laundry room, and that is where we had our first screaming match. I have never actually yelled or screamed at anyone in my whole life, not even my ex-husband. She screamed at me; I screamed back at her. She was making accusations that I was "coddling" K11, that she really did not have a headache that morning, that she probably forced herself to vomit, that she really does not have learning issues, she is just trying to manipulate me and her teachers in the past and get attention, that she could figure out the tip if she wanted to, that K11 was making K7 do all the work (ahem, it was one shirt on a hanger.) S was screaming at me, drowning out the sounds of the washers and dryers; I kept screaming back at her, that she didn't even try to understand K11's personality or learning issues, that she had been constantly favoring K7 over K11 since we arrived in Minnesota, making K11 feel terrible. People kept coming in and out of the laundry room, listening to two middle-aged crazy women yelling at one another over something soooo stupid. I was crying hysterically; that's what I do when I get angry or frustrated. I didn't know what to do. I had two unhappy kids upstairs (K7 had been crying by now because she felt guilty for getting all of S's attention), no money in the bank to go to a hotel, and we were supposed to leave on our Laura Wilder adventure in the morning.
So after S and I calmed down, we decided that, like a divorcing couple, we would put our differences aside for a couple of days for the kids' sakes and go on the trip. Afterall, that part of the trip was the main reason we had come, to reward them for all their hard work they had done for the school year. They had both looked forward to this trip for so long. Imagine, following the same route that Laura Wilder had traveled!
S made it clear to me that she did not like K11 and would not change her mind about her. I had never, ever heard her tell me that she did not "like" a child! I was deeply hurt. She was saying something about my child I had never heard before. I had always heard the exact opposite from people: how aggreable K11 always was, how she was so polite, had a beautiful smile, how quiet she was but always a friend to everyone, how she tried hard to please.
I really did not have a choice. We had to go on this road trip. We were both adults; we could put this behind us, couldn't we, to make two kids' wishes come true? So we left for Pepin, Wisconsin in the morning.