Buddy started school last week. Try as I might, I could not get him to understand the idea of school. All he understood and I was told was, “No go me!” That night, he cried and begged not to go to school. I was worried.
It wasn’t any better the next day. He loved his Pikachu backpack with his awesome Spiderman lunch bag and his favorite sandwich inside — Sunbutter. He loved that I put him in one of his favorite shirts. He was excited to get into the car. He was excited to see his teacher.
Then he realized that I was going to leave, and he had a meltdown. I couldn’t even use my cue words to get his attention. His teacher looked at me, super calm, and said, “Have a great day!” I reminded myself that she does this every single weekday for every school year for the past 7-9 years (I can’t recall, to be honest.) His class size is only eight, and the teacher has two aides. I let Buddy know I would be leaving, that I loved him, and I would be back later. I walked away, with my son crying. It hurt.
I fretted all day. I had to take his older brother to his school and fight to get him registered, as there had been issues. I was there for a few hours before I went back to my silent home. It was just me and Lily. We played all the things she likes to do that Buddy doesn’t: baby dolls, tea party, coloring, and watched a princess movie. When she didn’t want to spend time with me, the house felt so empty and lonely. I didn’t know what to do with myself.
I arrived to pick him up a little early. I fussed and fidgeted until I saw him. He had a huge smile and gave me a big hug. His teacher said he had a great day, which she had promised to tell me no matter what happened. One of the neat things she does is send home a notebook where we can write notes back and forth to each other. The first day read, “Buddy had a great day! He is extremely intelligent. Thank you for sharing him with me.”
Buddy and Lily acted like they hadn’t seen each other in months. She showed him everything she had done that day, and he… he talked. If you read his assessment, you saw that they noted he didn’t speak more than six words at a time. That day, he repeatedly used eight… and he asked questions instead of demanding! “Lily, will you give that toy me please?” “I went to school and colored a monkey.”
I was amazed. He told her how much he loved school. Bedtime saw a different response. He cried and begged not to go to school the next day. Every day last week was like that, except he didn’t cry when I dropped him off. He wouldn’t go to bed, would beg not to go; would wake up, beg not to go; happily skip off to his teacher; happily leave his teacher; happily talk to Lily about how amazing school was.
Friday he actually cried when I told him that he couldn’t go to school the next day. Sunday, he cried because he wanted to go to school, not church. The church volunteers said he was the most well-behaved they had ever seen, and he was very communicative. He even used the sentence, “I went to school five times this week.” Week? He used the word, “week” and correctly?
Today, he brought home last week’s work. She noted that he won’t do something unless he can do it, which I had told her before. For example, he wouldn’t color until he suddenly could do it well, staying in the lines and drawing things. His work included color-by-letter, letter tracing, and a puzzle he colored, cut, and glued back together.
The house is still empty. I’m still lonely when Lily plays by herself. Buddy, though, is doing so incredibly well! A part of me is sad. I worked so hard to teach Buddy the letter “A” for a year and a half with no luck. One day with this teacher, and she has him babbling away, identifying letters and colors and numbers. The important thing is that Buddy got what he needed. He’s happy, learning, and will be going on his first field trip! It’s going to be an interesting year.