Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Steven and Preschool....

So my son has started preschool. Um, this day came waaaaaay to early for me. Steven isn't even three yet, and yet every day I get him up, make him eat breakfast, put him on the potty (and pray he stays there, not to mention keeps his aim straight), get him dressed, and off we go to wait for his bus. Below is a picture of Steven on the second week of school.

The first week was definitely an adventure. I was happy to see the beginning of the school year because it meant a break for me. Steven stopped going to daycare back during the summer, when Steve and I split. I was still very ill then, and barely able to keep up with him. These few hours of quiet I get each day, I truly treasure. I wasn't sure how I'd feel the first day of school (hell, Big Steve was in mourning), but I actually did pretty well. I didn't cry. Everyone said I was going to cry, but I was more proud than anything. It's been quite a journey, navigating Steven's developmental delays.

As time passes, I can read his cues better, and so can his father. Yes, Steve is still in our lives. Another blog for another time, but I quickly came to the conclusion that my son wanted him around. Steven is deliriously happy when both his parents are in the same place. He's also more bratty, but at least he's tag-teamed. The boy is quick, he can toss a chicken nugget and flee before you have a chance to go get it. Very scary for me, as I've discovered that more than half of all autistic kids bolt from safe places. No wonder my son wants to play in the street ALL THE DAMN TIME.

Well, the first day of school rolls around, and everyone in the house was excited. Big Steve and I had agreed that we would both take him his first day, so Big Steve came from Maryland and stayed here for the weekend. Don't even begin to think that things are not tense with that situation, even though Big Steve and I are getting along a lot better.

I found out the Friday before school starts that my son is not on the bus route. Transportation says there's nothing they can (will) do, and that it'll take a week to straighten out. So Steven got a ride from Grandma for the first week. The first day Steve and I took him, but for the rest of the week he was chauffeured.

Onto the actual first day...

Steven's preschool is actually a special-needs preschool. The school has an actual preschool autism class, but since Steven has not yet gotten his full diagnosis, and seems to be fairly high-functioning, he was put in the basic special needs class. Steven's biggest hurdle right now is communication. He will not sign and he does not talk. But he does have his ways of letting you know what he needs. Like sitting on you when he poops (or squatting in a corner), or pulling his high chair into the kitchen when he's hungry. He yells a lot to get his point across as well. We're still getting used to that.

My mother and I took Steven with us to the preschool open house that was a week before school opened, and Steven seemed to like his classroom. It is a beautiful, bright airy space full of things for little kids to do. He's one of the youngest in his class. He will probably have to repeat this class next year, or an equivalent to it, based on the school district wherever we move to.

Little Man was definitely excited about his first day. I got him up, dressed, got myself dressed, and Steve was already downstairs looking sad. I felt bad for him. He didn't get to see his daughters go to school for the first time because he was deployed. So I think the day was harder for him than it was for me.

We ended up getting to the school a half our early, because the principal sent out an email saying school starts at nine. She didn't make a distinction between K-6 and the preschoolers. The preschoolers start twenty minutes later. I found out why the hard way.

The noise of all the bigger kids terrified Steven. So we had a half hour of him fussing and trying to escape before it was time for him to go back in his classroom. Personally, I intend to be a responsible and involved parent, but I don't want to be a helicopter mom, either. So Steve and I probably did the wrong thing the first day, and left him a bit too early. The teacher said Steven settled down and was fine after an hour, but I think it really scared him to be left in the lobby of the school the first day. He even punched a teacher's aide. I didn't find that out until the end of the week, one of the moms whose kids went to Steven's daycare told me. The aide was holding him, and my son is strong. I think the aide underestimated just how strong.

Subsequent days were easier, with the exception of one Monday. He did throw up on his teacher, and she called to ask me if that was normal, I told her yes. At Steven's preschool, the kids are not required to be potty-trained, so we have to include diapers and a change of clothes in his backpack. I count it a good day when he comes home with the same clothes on that I put him in that morning.

These days he stamps in anticipation of the bus, jumps off the bus in the afternoons when I get him off, and his teacher sends home daily reports of what he does. It's so cute to think of my little guy as the weather helper, or the line helper.

Steven will mimic you from time to time, and he does have some clever antics notched under his belt. I'll write about those another time. But when it comes to school....

So far so good.

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