After weeks of worrying about difficult child's grades, and watching his anxiety and anger ramp up (watching is an understatement. Being a victim of it is more correct), we finally had the teachers' conference. husband, difficult child and I met with-the advisor/counselor, the math teacher, and the history teacher. We got the same story we'd been getting for years from all of the schools that difficult child has attended: Your son is intelligent and capable. Once he decides to give it his best, he will take off. But right now he has no initiative. No drive. He seems happy to get by with-C's. Also, he does well in school, but once he shuts the book, it's over for the day, and there is no going back home and doing projects or homework. For whatever reason, he seems to have that in his head. So disheartening. Where's the magic pill or the electrode to stimulate the part of the brain that makes people strive for things? All 3 of the teachers repeated, for the benefit of difficult child, how smart he is and how he could be an A student. difficult child stays after for homework help on Tue and Thursdays, so he had half of his homework done by the time he got home today. We hid the TV cord (which is also the way he accesses his PS2) and told him he could have it when he finished his homework. While he worked, I made dinner (he refused to take lunch to school so he was starving). He finished just as dinner was ready, so I told him I'd give him the cord if he held it in his lap and ate with-us. (He loves to play video games by himself and eat alone, either in front of the TV or in his room and we do not like that.) He agreed, ate up a storm, cleared his plate, and exited to the TV room. 15 min. later: "Mom, are there any more pancakes?" (I made teriyaki chicken, tofu, rice, and edamae, and also blueberry gluten-free pancakes. I've learned that if I serve it all at once, he'll eat it all, but if I make him eat "normal" food only, with-the promise of a treat later, he'll get resentful and not eat at all.) Yes, there were more pancakes. He said "please" and "Thank you" and I wondered where this new child had come from. In fact, he was so nice and polite, and finished his homework so quickly and easily, I began to doubt that the last few contentious days had taken place, and to think that I was just blowing everything out of proportion, Know what I mean?? It didn't last long. In about half an hr, he said something snotty and told me to go away. We have an appointment with-the therapist to discuss ongoing verbal abuse by difficult child, occasional shoulder and chest-checks, slammed doors, and other issues, to the point where we're wondering if there is an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) we can send difficult child to that we can afford ... sooner rather than later. husband and I talked last night and I told him I couldn't wait until difficult child was in HS so we could send him somewhere. husband said, "HS? I don't think I can make it through the next 6 wks!" (He also gave me a long overdue compliment, after yrs of his being a workaholic and thinking that I was taking things too personally, he's been more exposed to difficult child lately, and he said, "I am exhausted. All I want to do is sleep. I can't work all day and then come home to this. How do you do it?" ) Meanwhile, the tech ed teacher called tonight to tell me that difficult child is not failing his class. He said it's a glitch in the system and when you grade 3 or 4 students and the others haven't yet finished their projects, the computer projects the absent grade as a 0, which is an F. Sheesh! I called him b4 Christmas! And difficult child didn't argue about that class, either. He told me he hadn't finished one of his projects and that was it. Didn't care that it was an F. Well, between you and me and the fencepost, the tech ed teacher said it's a hands-on learning class, and the only way you can fail is to not show up. So even if difficult child does his crummiest work, he'd still squeak by with-a D. But he thinks he'll end up with-a B. I told difficult child, "Good news! It was a glitch in the system!" difficult child said, "I couldn't care less." Grrr.