10 August 2006

first day

Today, my baby boy left babyhood. He’s off to the great big world of Kindergarten. My heart has been pounding ferociously since kissing him goodbye at his classroom door. Not being a woman who cries easily, I blinked back the burning in my eyes and bit my lip when I walked away. (I didn’t see any other moms sobbing wildly into hankies or I might have lost it, however). Of course, the day is not over, so that burning may win yet.

My anxiety, however, goes deeper than just his first day in school. It’s bigger than his being a “big kid”, and wider than missing his sounds throughout the day. My heart races because I know he struggles with transition; he loathes touching gooey messes; he doesn’t cope when a room is too loud. Later, I’ll worry about his being bored by shapes and letters, for now I worry that he’ll get through the day without falling apart.

During Open House this week, I talked to the teacher and school nurse about his Sensory Processing Disorder. My heart was a bit lighter knowing they cared and would work at understanding—that they would be on his side. Throughout the day at home, we do something called the Wilbarger Protocol—basically a soft bristled surgical brush brushed on his skin combined with joint compressions to help stimulate the nerves and thereby triggering his body to respond a bit more positively to his surroundings. Truly, when he is falling apart sometimes, I realize I have forgotten to do his brushing. Once we take care of it, his whole being begins to relax. To my shame, I forgot in the newness of getting him out the door for school today. However, his therapist plans to teach the nurse how to do this procedure—he will not have to go all day without it during the stress of school.

The school nurse emailed me a little bit ago. What good it did my heart to know he was surviving his first day. She said he had been overwhelmed by how loud the class was, and had come to visit her where she gave him a back rub (my alternate suggestion since she does not yet know how to do brushing) and chatted a few minutes. It soothed him some and he went on back to class.

And so, my heart is hurting for him. How hard it is for a child—deer caught in headlights expression on their face—that first day of Kindergarten. How much harder that your environment is not going to be simple to adjust to. What must it feel like for a typical day to overwhelm your body in so many ways?

I know my heart will continue to beat a little faster until I hold my precious baby in my arms once more. For yes, he will always be my baby boy. That, no doubt, is when my eyes will leak a little more noticeably.

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