Sometimes, a picture says it all.
This is J’s school photo from this year. O’Connor Photography owns the image, etc. and so forth.
Apologies for low quality, it was a poor man scanning job done via the camera on my phone.
This kid. Sometimes, he just completely surprises me. The moment I saw this this morning I laughed so hard I had to take a minute to catch my breath. This is so absolutely, completely him right now on so many levels.
Today was J’s first day of his second year of preschool. We had a visit to his classroom yesterday as he is with his same friends and same staff, but in a different building this year and initially he resisted. Full scale yelling “no”, threatening to melt down but he calmed upon approach of the building. I think realizing it was not the awful summer program he was returning to helped.
Watching the fur seal babies play.
We celebrated yesterday with a trip to the New England Aquarium as mentioned before. It was a fail overall, which still bugs me. I did reach out to them and hope to be able to talk to senior staff there soon about potential things to be done to make the aquarium more accessible to people with special needs like J’s.
Anyway back to the story at hand. Ximena, J’s runner through the I Run 4 group, sent him a fantastic Superman t-shirt and I realized when we opened it that this had to be J’s first day of school shirt. We got dressed, washed up, even brushed teeth this morning and marched off to school without a single struggle this morning. He celebrated the new year with munchkins for breakfast, of course. He had no issue going into his classroom, setting his things in his cubby and getting to work. This is such a departure from last year at this time!
This year he will do two days a week, one hour each time, in the general preschool classroom. I am nervous about this but also excited. I think he has grown so many skills in the past year and it will be interesting to see how he responds when this becomes a part of his routine. Last year, a visit to that classroom would immediately shut him down and send him seeking a place to burrow away. I do not think he would do the same now but as ever, he always surprises me. The dog will also help to boost his confidence, which will help in ways I bet we cannot even yet measure.
Here is Mr. Preschool 2014-2015:
Before school. Pardon the weird haze at the top, my phone case is a jerk.
Little boy after school with his buds! He made that hat. It has apple cut outs that the kids glued on them. Adorable!
Welcome to life with J-bear. He attended his first day of preschool today. I decided that him only staying til 12:30 was likely the best bet for him since he’s never had anything like a full day of school before.
Turns out, he did pretty well!
He struggled with transitions but recovered well it seems. He even went to the gym without melting down from what they said. It’s pretty awesome to hear that knowing how he struggles with places that echo.
The fact that his teacher and the classroom aides have this amazing sense of calm about how they manage the classroom is likely a huge part of why they’re succesful. Despite every child having very different needs the classroom had no air of chaos whatsoever. Everyone seemed well attended to and well cared for. This makes me feel better about the year to come. I can see him truly flourishing in an environment like this.
Next week will be the true test as he starts to get into staying even longer days and such but I think this will slowly start to work out just fine.
At least I hope it will, anyway.
The meltdowns, they return.
He hinted at their resurgence this morning when, upon arriving at his new school, he realized that he would not be going out to play on the beautiful play structure they have right beside the preschool classrooms. He was livid at being “forced” to enter the school and visit his classroom to meet his teacher, aides and classmates. One of the aides from the summer classroom happens to be the secretary at his school so seeing her helped.
I would like to thank the brain trust that decided to put a gorgeous, fun, appealing playground structure outside the preschool classrooms at J’s school. The preschoolers are absolutely forbidden to play on it. You must be in kindergarten or older. Let’s ignore that the exact same structure is at every school in our town and he was allowed to play at the one at summer school. I feel pretty awful for the teachers and aides having to explain to all these 3 and 4 year olds that nope, as fun as it looks you must NOT go near it.
Anyway back to our story – He came home, had a brief nap and then we were off to therapy. The poor guy, something really does seem to be going on. He was so very spaced out and at one point even bodily moving him did not get his attention to return. I had to wait til he tuned back in to ask him to hop into the car. He continued to be a little spaced out during therapy though he did a good job meeting his new speech therapist.
Then we went to the grocery store.
He screamed pulling into the parking lot. He screamed getting out of the car. He screamed going into the store. Once we were in the store I stopped with him and our carriage the first place it was safe to do so. I let him stim against the side of the carriage to calm himself but even with timers and transitional warnings, he wasn’t transitioning away from it. He melted down completely. Now, this is not the time to give a stranger unsolicited advice but of course, someone did. I ignored it the sheer stupidity of it, for they had no clue my son wasn’t just being an angry three year old, he was dealing with oh so much more.
I did all I could to stay calm and not cry. I succeeded, mostly. Very close to completely. I got him settled with his iPad once he relented to sitting in the cart and raced like my butt was on fire through shopping.
These are the days that are hard. These are the days I want to tell all the things that make my son struggle to jump off a ledge. I cannot however separate the good from the bad without losing that which is intrinsically J, so I will take the bad with the good and hope people keep their weird advice to themselves more often.