This morning, Nathan and I sat down to go through a test that he brought home. Standard procedure is: go through the test, correct any answers he got wrong (or didn't show sufficient proof for) and then I sign it and it goes back to school.
To my surprise, he got very upset when I asked him about one question. There were several fractions and he was asked to circle all of the ones which were equivalent to 1/3. The teacher had written a note "Are you sure you found all the answers?" so I guessed that Nathan must have missed one. We started going through the possibilities and the crisis hit with this one: 2 1/6.
I guessed it must be 2 x 1/6, which would be equal to 1/3. But Nathan insisted, through tears, that it was 2 and 1/6, which would not. I suggested that we write a note asking the teacher to clarify.
Nathan immediately got very upset, saying that he would get in trouble and it would be all my fault and the police would come and take me away as a bad mother.
(This any-roadbump-leads-to-global-catastrophe approach really worries me, but that's a topic for another post.)
I talked him through it, bringing him back to my version of reality. I pointed out that if his teacher punished him for asking a question, that was very serious and I needed to talk to the principal and the teacher. He said his teacher had never punished him for asking a question and told them they should ask questions to make sure they understood. We took some time to brainstorm different ways to ask the question and settled on writing it on a sticky note.
It's these kind of episodes that remind me that Nathan needs extra support too, not just Alex. He's going through a difficult transition period (with the end of school and a social shift as his classmates start moving into exclusive groups). I'm sure there will be many more explosions in our future, but hopefully the repetition of talking them through will help Nathan to eventually do the same on his own.