Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Do you think I can take the whole bottle of Zoloft?


On Wednesday morning, Mr. WG took D. for his first of two visiting days at The School. Mr. WG dropped him off at 8:45 and called me from the car to tell me that D. was screaming and that the staff had to physically hold him to keep him from racing after his daddy. What a fun start to the morning!

Ten minutes later, Mr. WG called back. “So you gave them my cell phone number?” he says.


“They just called me to come back.”

Shocker, I know. Anyway, Mr. WG instead came home and I then raced over to the school. I arrived to find D. somewhat calmed (not really) in the director’s office. I walked him back to the classroom while he clung to me, sobbing. I told him that I would stay with him, and I did.

The director told me that I should try to be a piece of furniture –don’t interfere, even if D. isn’t following directions. Let the teacher do her job. So I did that, to the best of my ability, and then I did it again today, and let me tell you that it is FREAKING EXHAUSTING, and these teachers – all teachers really – must have the patience of a frigging SAINT because HOLY CRAP.

A typical five seconds in the classroom might go like this:

“Let’s sit in the circle and – OK, sweetheart, why don’t you let go of your friend and – what? Oh, good words. I like that you asked if you could take the toy from my box. Not just now. A little bit later. I like the way some of my friends are sitting so nicely in the circle. I’m going to call your name if you’re sitting nicely and you’ll have a chance to – no, no, we don’t throw things at our friends. Is there anything you want to say to your friend? Right, good words.”

My absolute favorite moment, hands down, was when we were coming in from outside time. Sweetpea had a garden hose, and Smallerboy wanted it, so he tried to take it, and Sweetpea whacked him with the hose. So Smallerboy comes in crying, and the teacher says to Sweetpea, “Is there something you want to say to Smallerboy?” And Sweetpea says, “Don’t take the garden hose away from me when I’m playing with it.”

YES! Awesome answer.

On Thursday, when D. realized where we were, he started trembling and crying quietly. Nothing makes you feel like a great parent as much as the sight of your child TREMBLING WITH TERROR. I told him that I would stay with him, that I would NOT LEAVE, that MOMMY IS STAYING WITH D. I might as well have been speaking trigonometry.

Once in the classroom, though, he calmed slightly. The teacher suggested that I try to leave at outside time, and I declined. Inside, at circle time, I sat behind D., and he took my arms and made them into a seatbelt around himself. If I moved a hand to, say, scratch my nose, or restart my circulation, D. immediately grabbed my arms and put them back into seatbelt position.

I have to assume that this separation thing will gradually ease. What I can tell you is that even now, in April, even though his teacher is a close friend, if D. sees me at school, he immediately wants to go home with me and becomes hysterical if he realizes that I am not taking him with me.

As part of D’s application process, we still need to go through a neuropsych evaluation. The first step of that is at the end of the month, when Mr. WG and I will meet with the doctor. Then, about two weeks later, she’ll meet with us and with D. And then she’ll write up a big report and people will read it and stroke their chins thoughtfully or something.

It is fascinating to see a classroom full of delayed children. Some of them are social and interact with each other. Each day that I was there, one little boy gave me a kiss. Some of the kids are loners and go to great lengths to avoid eye contact and make a real effort to play alone.

The School is very into good choices. After spending two days there, I have fallen into this speech pattern as well, and I spent about two hours of my day telling D. that he made a good choice. (Of course, I spent about three hours of my day telling D. that that was NOT a good choice, but you know. Details.)

I think The School could be amazing for D., and I can only hope that the application process goes smoothly. I can only hope that I’m doing the best thing for him overall.


lisa said...

Poor D! That's gotta be tough, for him and you both. It sounds like the school is great and I really hope he adjusts to it soon. It sounds to me like you are doing the best thing for him.