|My Big Brave Kindergartener!|
The night before the first day of school, I was a complete wreck. Jordan, on the other hand, was beyond excited.
"Mama!" she shouted. "I go to school tomorrow! I'm going to kindergarten!"
And I only smiled and nodded, barely able to contain my tears. I tucked her in to bed that night, a million thoughts running through my head all at the same time.Would she be okay? Was she going to have a meltdown as soon as she got to school? Was I going to have to pick her up after only a few hours because she became inconsolable? How would she adapt to eating lunch in the cafeteria? These worries had never been a problem before, because she always went to the same school. She saw the same people every day, in the same room, went to school with kids all her own age, and ate lunch in the classroom. But this was a new school, with more kids in her class,two different teachers and two different classrooms. Not to mention the lunch in the cafeteria and that there were older children there, too. The changes to her routine were tremendous and potentially detrimental. As with most kids on the spectrum, Jordan has never adapted well to change. The slightest difference in her usual routine has the potential to throw her off so much that it can often take several days, in few instances weeks, to get her used to the change and back to her normal self. Our nights during these "transition fits" were more often than not sleepless and very stressful on the whole family. There was so much going on with the start of this new journey that I feared the worst. That we would lose our Jordan to a meltdown of epic proportions, and it would take the whole fall to get her back. But these were only a few of my worries.
The worst of my worries fell in line with bullying. This has become more and more of a problem in recent years, and it seems like not enough is being done to stop it. Older kids are picking on younger ones, little kids are getting picked on by the big kids, and kids with different learning capabilities are getting targeted by those deemed "typical" or "normal." Children can be down right cruel, and Jordan, being as sweet and innocent as she is, would easily fall victim. She sees all other kids as 'friends' and in trying to be nice to another child could get taken advantage of and potentially hurt. And with the amount of students that the teachers have to watch over in the schools, some children can fall to the wayside, and that is how the bullying goes unnoticed. I am so afraid of this happening to my Sweet Pea.
With all this swirling through my brain, it was difficult to sleep that night, so when I got up for work I was a jumbled mess. It was hard to focus scanning the truck and making sure everything got to where it needed to go. I muscled through and practically rushed out the door at the end of my shift, anxious but not really to get home.
Jordan was dressed and almost ready to go when I walked in the door.
"Hi Mama!" she greeted me with a grin. "I have kindergarten today!"
"I know, Sweet Pea, and we're so proud of you!" I hugged her, and helped her to finish getting ready. We brushed her hair, brushed her teeth and tied her new, light-up shoes. I put her lunch in her back pack and had her put it on her back. She rolled her eyes and complained when we asked her to pose for pictures, but reluctantly agreed and smiled for a couple of candid snapshots. At just past 8 a.m., we walked down to the truck and waited for her bus. Sure as the sun rises, the bus showed up a couple minutes later and I snapped a couple more pictures as she was buckled in to her seat. She waved excitedly as the doors closed and the bus pulled out of the lot for the first day of the biggest journey of her little life.
That day was the longest, most excruciating day of my life. I kept busy in the morning by hanging out with Pat and Gena, but when the afternoon rolled around and Johnny was napping, I was left in a quiet, lonely living room by myself. I missed her terribly and could only think about how she was doing adjusting to the new school. We practically ran down to the bus stop at 3:30 to wait for her to get home.
She was so excited when she got home that she could hardly focus to tell me about her day. The most I got out of her was that she saw her teachers, her friend Justin, and that she ate lunch in the cafeteria. In true Jordan fashion, she was so overwhelmed by the end of the day that she had a meltdown that night and crashed at 6:30 pm. But I didn't get a call from the school, and the reports I got from from her teachers were glowing. So I was left with only one conclusion: the first day of school was a complete success!
That was the only major meltdown she had. As her first full week progressed, she was able to tell me more and more about her school days. She came home Tuesday and told me, without prompting, that they had a fire drill. She told me it was really loud and she covered her ears, but she listened to her teachers and followed directions. Just yesterday, she told me that her friend Sean didn't like the applesauce they made in kindergarten and he cried. But my daughter, ever the counselor, told him it was okay and he didn't have to eat it. I get only positive feed back from her teachers and she is adjusting beautifully to the change.
Words can't even begin to describe the pride I feel when I see that glowing smile as she jumps off the bus at the end of each day. My little girl, who just three years ago couldn't talk and whose future to us seemed unclear, is now a successful kindergarten student that everyone, from the bus drivers to the school secretary, knows and loves! She's moving up in the world, and I may not know what the future has in store for her, but I know that if she goes into it with the same positive attitude that she takes to kindergarten, she can conquer the world!
|Waiting for the bus with Johnny!|
|Bye Mom! I'm off to school!|
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