Is he playing and putting on a show, or dealing with great anxiety? I've discussed our unhappiness with difficult child's military day school: one of the big problems is the unreliability of transportation. It seems to come anytime within a 5 hour time frame and sometimes doesn't come at all, and there is no communication with the families--so on many occasions the kids (and families) are just left hanging there, waiting for a bus that never comes (once they cancelled school and told no one). I wrote last Friday how the driver did not come. difficult child thought he'd have to stay home and hid behind a truck so I (who leaves the house earlier, in theory just after he's supposed to be picked up) wouldn't know he was still here. husband found him an hour after I left and difficult child told him he WANTED to go to school but the driver just didn't come. husband is having lay offs at work (he's management) and HAD to go to work and could not take the time off to drive difficult child to school 45 minutes away. So he called me, I came home, difficult child ran away and hid in the shed for 13 hours. The school has two campuses about 20 miles apart. One is the boot camp campus. Kids go here at least 3 months and when they prove they can behave, the graduate to the academic (ha!) campus. difficult child was graduated even though he never did his homework, threw away his shoes and ripped or threw away his uniforms, and lost all his books and agendas over and over. We think they needed room for a new crop of kids and just pushed him to the academic campus. Last Friday the driver said he came a half hours early, knocked on the door, rang the door bell (he didn'), and left--and that was why he didn't get difficult child. difficult child didn't read his mind he was coming early. The school said difficult child wasn't picked up because they closed the academic campus and all the students were supposed to go to the boot camp campus. Apparently there hasn't been water or toilet facilities at the academic campus for two weeks! So last Wednesday the school told us all classes would take place at the boot camp campus because of the water problem. Fine so the driver's been picking up difficult child and taking him there. When husband told difficult child that husband couldn't drive him to the boot camp campus last friday because of the lay offs, difficult child started crying: he really, really, really wanted to go to school. Today the driver didn't show up again. difficult child went out to wait for him at 5:20 am and husband took him to work with him at 7:45 am. husband's plan was to go to work, give people instructions for the morning, then take difficult child to the boot camp campus. Ten minutes after they left, the driver shows up and talks to my other son. Excuses, excuses. So anyway, husband is driving difficult child to the boot camp campus and difficult child starts crying. He doesn't want to go. As they get closer to the school, his crying gets more frantic. Why? Because he doesn't have his uniform and will get into trouble; he will be in 'exclusion' (which means a day of pt and chores and a bologna sandwich for lunch). husband reminds him he had six uniforms and shredded them and threw them away and hid them under the car and in the bushes and this is his own fault and a consequence of bad decisions. But later husband tells me he feels real bad: difficult child was a mass of panic and anxiety and really bawling. So last week difficult child was crying because he couldn't go to school and this week he's crying because he is going to school. He hasn't had a uniform since before Xmas and it hasn't mattered at all. So why suddenly now? He's been going to the boot camp campus for several days now and never cried before, so why today? When he got home today I asked difficult child if he cried in the shuttle van yesterday and the day before on the way to school. I pointed out that last week he cried because he didn't get to go, but today he cried because he did go. difficult child's explanation was a long ramblind bunch of nonsense about different circumstances making things different. I said, "Is the different circumstance that you were alone with your dad in the car and thought you might be able to make him feel sorry for you?" He just looked at me steadily and didn't answer. husband said he suspected he was being manipulated this morning and didn't show any sympathy, but he said in his heart and gut he felt sick with the awareness that difficult child is mentally ill. He thought he was riddled with anxiety and frantic. I had the observation that I thought difficult child was crying more now than he's ever cried before--but ONLY when he's alone with husband. husband kind of agreed but wasn't sure. What do you think? Manipulation or mental illness?