Welcome back to my Blog for 2012! What a delightful Christmas and new year we had. It exceeded my expectations of family comfort and relaxation, and the time seemed to speed by. Before I knew it, it was time for new lunch boxes, school shoes and 7am alarms. I go into this new school year itching to write, and anxious to really get my little boy settled and thriving. I have a couple of specific posts planned for this or next week, but I will no longer be trying to post every day. I will be posting at least once a week and more often if something interesting happens.
This morning I dropped my little one off at school for his first day of First Grade. Naturally, any school drop-off is not without its dramas, but when you have a child with ODD, ADHD and Anxiety Disorder, you need to remember to crank up the volume! On Friday, I called the school to see if they could tell me what class he was going to be in and who his teacher will be. Naturally they didn’t know yet, as the first and second graders would be ‘sorted’ when they got to school. This procedure would apparently happen in the library, and I was advised that I could just leave him in the playground in the morning as usual. Ha! I kindly reminded them who I was, and who my son is, and that I have never been able to just leave him in the playground in the morning. I always deliver him into the classroom straight into the hands of his aide. “Oh yes. That’s right” said the helpful voice on the other end of the phone. She then paused, not really knowing what to say next. I made it easier for her, by letting her know that I would like permission to stay with with him during the sorting process and then escort him to his classroom and stay until he was quite settled in there. They don’t usually allow that to happen, so I knew I would need their agreement first. They agreed and confirmed with the principal. So I told my son that was what was going to happen and so he didn’t need to stress about where he should be or what was going on. Sigh…
Today arrived, and he completed his tasks stuck on the fridge in order to earn his weekly pocket money. He washed his face and brushed his teeth. He got dressed. He even allowed me to put sunscreen on his arms, and agreed to have his hair combed. we packed his lunch in his new shiny lunch box and headed out the door. A slow walk to school allowed us time for a little chat, but he seemed calm and generally happy.
I stood off to the side while he sat in line with his class from last year. He listened beautifully to the morning messages and even sat still. He announced loudly to me when the parents were asked to leave that I should follow him to the library, which showed he had even been listening to the instructions given him by the teacher with the microphone. He then proceeded to follow all the other kids into the library in single file. Perfect. I sat myself in the back of the library to be a catching mitt in case he tried to run, but he sat beautifully and waited patiently while all the other kids filed in and sat down around him. Then the teachers spotted me sitting there.
His new teacher came up and introduced herself to me. She seemed very nice and I explained that I was going to stay until he had been introduced to his new teacher and shown his classroom. His aide from last year was there, and I have always really liked her and know that she really knows how to deal with my son. She has an autistic son who will be in my son’s class this year as well. The aide went and collected my son from where he was sitting with the group and brought him over to myself and the teacher. We introduced him to her. He was immediately on guard because he had been told by one of his peers that a particular teacher whom he loves would be their class teacher this year. So he was disappointed to find this wasn’t the case. Then this new teacher turned to him and said,
“OK, now Mum is needs to go, and you will come back and sit with the other kids.”
I saw his little face immediately turn to ‘fight’ mode. He hooked his arms around my neck and said,
“No! You said you would stay until I was in my classroom! Am I going to be in the library this year?!”
I started to explain that he would be taken to his classroom soon. I pointed out that his aide was there, and that he now knew who his teacher was. I knew full well this wasn’t going to cut it. He had been happy in the knowledge that I was going to stay with him for a good portion of the day while he got to know his new classroom. Stupidly I allowed the teacher with her kind but stern voice to insist that I had to leave. 😦
I carried him outside so that his wailing would not disturb the other kids too much, and his aide kindly followed and then physically detached him from me. I left feeling most uncomfortable and kind of angry at the school for causing that to happen. I know they have their rules, and I appreciate them fully. However, I had checked with them that I would be allowed to stay, and I had then more importantly told him that. When you have a kid like mine, you can’t go changing the plans when it comes to something stressful like that. I left in a fluster and immediately called my husband and told him what had happened. He thankfully calmed me down and then said I should walk straight back to the office and tell them to go and check whether he had settled down yet. If he had, well good. If he hadn’t, then I was to insist that they let me go back to him and apologise for walking away when he was expecting me to stay and then settle him in the classroom like he had been told.
So in I marched. Fortunately all the ladies in the office know me and when I explained the situation, they were actually quite understanding. They dispatched a ‘spy’ to see how he was doing and I chatted to the principal about it while I waited. Fortunately, the spy returned to tell me that he was completely settled in his classroom now and was sitting at the front paying close attention to the teacher and behaving just beautifully. Phew!
I plan to let him know that I did come back and check on him so that I can tell him how proud I was of how he calmed himself down and settled into the classroom. I will also be picking him up with an ice block in hand to apologise to him for how it all happened. Poor little thing. And so the new school year has begun and not on the calmest note, but it could have been much worse!